Somerset Waste Partnership ending Keir contract early to implement ‘Recycle More’ strategy

The Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) has laid out an ambitious set of plans to align arrangements for its waste collection, waste disposal and vehicle procurement by 2020 in its ‘Recycle More’ strategy, following a mutual agreement with contractor Keir to end their current contract on 27 March 2020 - 18 months early.

Somerset Waste Partnership ending Keir contract early to implement ‘Recycle More’ strategyThe SWP is seeking to harmonise changes to the three unified deals in an attempt to drive recycling rates from 53 per cent to 60 per cent and beyond, while improving services and saving millions of pounds in waste costs.

Following the agreement with Keir to bring a premature end to its waste contract with SWP, a procurement process will now begin for kerbside collection services covering Somerset’s 256,000 households. A Prior Information Notice is due to be published next Monday (20 November).

The procurement will proceed on the basis that any new contract will deliver the new ‘Recycle More’ long-term kerbside waste collections contract, voted through by the Somerset Waste Board in December 2016, with extra recycling materials collected every week in addition to three-weekly residual waste collections.

The SWP is accountable to the board, which is made up of 12 councillors - two from each of the partner authorities that make up the SWP - and is responsible for making all major decisions on waste, including the timing of changes and contracts.

Commenting on the announcement, Somerset Waste Board Chair Cllr Derek Yeomans said: “Our services are a vital provision for every household. These coordinated changes will improve services for all residents in Somerset and are designed both to raise recycling rates and to ensure very significant economies of scale.”

SWP Managing Director Mickey Green added: “This is a time to take major steps forward, improving services for Somerset residents, while also saving them money and

improving the environment. Aligning the timetable for investment, services and disposal ensures the maximum efficiency, greatest savings and the best possible waste solution for Somerset. It is a crucial part of our plan to support people in Somerset to waste far less and recycle even more.”

Meanwhile Julian Tranter, Managing Director at Kier Environmental Services, the departing SWP contractor, said: “We’re extremely proud of our work with Somerset Waste Partnership, where we’ve seen an increase in recycling to over 50 per cent, and helped implement some industry firsts, such as tracking every tonne of recycling to establish an annual register of what it all becomes.

“To allow SWP to implement its ‘Recycle More’ strategy and invest in new vehicles, Kier and SWP have mutually agreed to end the contract with effect from 27 March 2020. We continue to work closely together to provide a high-quality service for residents and stability for our teams during this time.”

A phased introduction of ‘Recycle More’ will begin in 2020, aligning with Somerset’s move away from landfill and towards generating energy from waste at a new facility in Avonmouth to be run by Viridor, which is set to become operational in 2020. 

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