Cambridgeshire LAs merge collection services

Cambridgeshire LAs merge collection servicesTwo Cambridgeshire local authorities (LAs) have begun merged waste operations with the aim of reducing fuel costs and optimising collection routes, after a partnership was agreed in October 2014.

From last Monday (9 November), Cambridge City Council’s fleet of 27 refuse collection vehicles, drivers and crew have been operating from South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Waterbeach depot.

The collection service is wholly owned and run by the two LAs, with a single management structure and workforce. The councils estimate that by joining the 75 Cambridge City Council staff and 100 South Cambridgeshire staff into one team, they will create savings of £170,000 per year.

As the majority of its waste team is moving to the Waterbeach depot, Cambridge City Council’s Mill Road depot, located by Cambridge station, will now be vacated and redeveloped for non-waste purposes.

The bulk of the collected waste will be taken to the waste management park in Waterbeach, where AmeyCespa, which won a five-year recycling contract with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Waste Partnership (RECAP), operates a material recovery facility (MRF) and a mechanical biological treatment (MBT) plant.

As part of the RECAP, both districts operate similar co-mingled collection services, with blue bins in each taking a mix of plastics, metals and glass, with a black bin for residual waste and a green bin for food and garden waste. South Cambridgeshire’s use of a separate caddy for waste paper is the only discrepancy in collection systems.

The two councils already undertake work for each other to collect bins when ‘administrative boundaries could potentially become operational and customer-service barriers’.

Savings details

Prior to the partnership, the cost to the two LAs, excluding support service costs, garage services and trade waste operations, had been £5.26 million per year (£3.02 million in South Cambridgeshire and £2.24 in Cambridge City).

The shared waste board that is now overseeing both services is now working on integrating the bin collection rounds across the two districts to make efficiency savings on fuel and vehicles. The original report presented to councils in 2014 suggested that the number of rounds could be reduced by at least one, with a saving of approximately £150,000.

Due to the merging of teams, management costs are expected to drop by over £100,000 a year, with further efficiencies to be sought through the two LAs working out of one depot.

The councils hope that once the service and structure have been developed to increase efficiency, annual savings of around £700,000 will be made within three years.

Councils aim to improve service while cutting down costs

Cllr Mick Martin, South Cambridgeshire District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environmental Health, said: “The joining up of the crews at one location is a big step toward a fully integrated shared service for both Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.

“The aim of the move is to take the best of how both councils have run their operations so we can improve the service we provide while driving down costs. Residents are key to reducing costs and we encourage everyone to play their part. Think before you throw to maximise the amount recycled and minimise black bin waste.”

The full report into the shared waste service can be found on South Cambridgeshire District Council’s website.