SLWP to discuss not renewing Veolia’s collections deal

The South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) is considering whether it will renew its waste collection and street cleansing contract with Veolia ahead of the agreement coming to an end in March 2025.

The SLWP manages more than 350,000 tonnes of waste from four South London councils

The SLWP is a joint waste authority made up of the four local councils in Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton.

Veolia’s contract, which started in 2017 with an initial duration of eight years, was procured by Croydon on behalf of the SLWP partner boroughs (see letsrecycle.com story). It has an annual value of £30 million and the SLWP may extend the contract by up to two further eight-year periods.

Each partner authority is to decide on whether there should be an extension of the jointly held contract, with Merton council to meet first on 10 October.

Veolia has proposed that the contract is renewed in 2025. Andrea Keys, the SLWP’s partnership director, noted that there had been a detailed options appraisal of Veolia’s proposal.

She said: “After taking all things into account, officers in the four partner boroughs have decided to recommend to their members that recommissioning the services would be in the boroughs’ best interests.”

Veolia told letsrecycle.com it “looked forward” to reviewing new contract specifications when these became available.

Contract

Under the contract, all boroughs adopted the same collection methodology, which included fortnightly collections of residual waste, paper and card and dry mixed recyclables such as glass, cans and plastic, alongside a weekly food waste collection and a charged fortnightly garden waste service.

A recommissioning exercise presents an opportunity for services to be designed with carbon reduction at their core

  • Andrea Keys, SLWP partnership director

Ms Keys suggested the opportunity to “recommission” the contract came at an “opportune time”. “Firstly, the boroughs are all at a pivotal point in their carbon reduction agendas,” she said. “A recommissioning exercise presents an opportunity for services to be designed with carbon reduction at their core.

“Secondly, Covid-19 and the resulting increase in home-working has had a significant impact on the volumes and types of waste being collected from homes across the region.

“And thirdly, there are major legislative changes on the horizon such as consistency in collections, deposit return scheme, extended producer responsibility and the plastic packaging tax.”

‘Significant achievements’

A spokesperson for Veolia told letsrecycle.com they were “proud” of their “significant achievements” since 2017, “which have seen all four SLWP boroughs close to the top of the league table for the best recyclers in London and major digital innovations across the contracts.”

South London
Veolia delivers a ‘harmonised’ recycling and waste service across the four South London boroughs of Merton, Sutton, Croydon and Kingston

The spokesperson added: “Our essential waste collection and street cleaning services have been delivered through Covid-19 lockdowns and extreme weather conditions and we thank our frontline staff for their ongoing hard work and commitment.”

“Since the existing contract began in 2017, service requirements and the wider market have evolved substantially. We look forward to reviewing new contract specifications when these are available and will respond accordingly in the new bidding process.

“In the meantime, we are committed to continuing to deliver the best quality services to residents until the completion of the contract in 2025.”

Merton

A report to go before the Merton council meeting recommends that the contract is not extended and that a new contract is commissioned to begin from 2025.

Some of the reasons cited by Merton in the document include “significant” increases to future service costs, coupled with the loss of existing guarantees on commercial waste income and recyclate sales.

The report continued that the contract requirements and performance to date, “have not fully met the evolving needs of our residents, particularly regarding flats above shops and street-cleanliness.”

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