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Somerset Waste Partnership extends Viridor contract

Somerset Waste Partnership extends Viridor contract
(L-R) Viridor Commercial Director Paul Ringham, Viridor Head of Contracts Patrick Murray, Viridor Lead Operations Manager Rachel Fisher, Somerset Waste Partnership Managing Director Mickey Green, SWP Chairman Cllr Derek Yeomans and Cllr David Hall.

Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) has renewed its waste management contract with Viridor, extending the arrangement until 2031.

SWP is responsible for waste and recycling services across Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset, Taunton Deane and West Somerset. Its relationship with Viridor began in 2006 with the start of a 16-year contract, running until March 2022. That contract has now been extended for a further nine years at a cost of £80 million.

Viridor operates the county’s household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) and waste delivery points, and provides composting services, waste transportation and hazardous waste collection, storage and disposal.

Viridor Head of Contracts, Patrick Murray, said: “The contract extension acknowledges the pressures austerity has brought to local government, while recognising the significant ambitions SWP has to maximise its recycling opportunities. This ambition reflects the desire of Somerset residents to become more resource efficient and to prioritise reuse over disposal.”

Mickey Green, SWP Managing Director, said: “We’re delighted to be able to extend our strong partnership with Viridor in a way which meets residents’ needs and continues to deliver excellent environmental performance, whilst addressing the financial challenges that local government faces.”

The extended contract also involves a revision of HWRC opening hours across the county, with sites to open until 4pm on Saturdays and Sundays, and on weekdays until 6pm in summer and 5pm in winter. “Working with Viridor is enabling us to keep all 16 recycling sites open and amend their opening hours to better reflect what the local community needs,” said SWP Chairman Cllr Derek Yeomans.

Gearing up to Recycle More

The extension of Viridor’s contract comes in advance of sweeping changes to SWP’s waste and recycling services in 2020, as the county seeks to boost its recycling rate above its current 53 per cent and eliminate waste to landfill.

SWP’s ‘Recycle More’ strategy, which was agreed upon in 2016 and will be rolled out from 2020 onwards, involves the introduction of three-weekly residual waste collections and the addition of further materials – plastic pots, tubs and trays, food and drink cartons and small electrical items – to kerbside recycling collections, alongside the pre-existing collections of paper, glass, plastic, cardboard, cans and foil. Weekly food waste collections are also already offered across the county.

From March 2020, a new collections contract will be launched after SWP ended its contract with Kier 18 months early. The new 10-year contract will bring together recycling, refuse and garden waste collection services in one of the largest single collection contracts in the UK, worth £570 million.

In addition, a new energy-from-waste (EfW) plant in Avonmouth is set to be operational by 2020. The £252-million Resource Recovery Centre, which will be operated by Viridor, will take all the household residual waste from across Somerset and convert it into up to 32MW of energy a year, enough to power around 44,000 homes.

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