Surrey moves towards county-wide waste service

Surrey County Council (SCC) has taken the first steps to implementing a new county-wide waste collection and disposal service that aims to save taxpayers between £8 million and £12 million a year.

The council says a joint service would introduce the county’s residents to benefits such as standard recycling and waste collections across the county, which already sees 53.2 per cent of waste recycled, while also leading to increased efficiency, an increased amount of waste sent to recycling and using the local councils’ collective bargaining power to get better deals on the waste collected. All savings made by the change would be shared across all councils.

Surrey moves towards county-wide waste service
The plan builds on moves by four local districts and boroughs – Elmbridge, Mole Valley, Surrey Heath and Woking – to agree a 10-year joint waste contract that aims to save their resident taxpayers £2 million a year.

The county council will endeavour to highlight the benefits of the service to the remaining district and borough councils while developing proposals to combine further county council services, such as waste disposal and running community recycling centres, with the county-wide service in the years to come.

The new partnership will have a staggered start depending on when each local council’s current contract ends, with the contract set to start in Elmbridge in June 2017, in Woking in September 2017, in Surrey Heath in February 2018, and in Mole Valley in August 2018 for waste and recycling and April 2019 for street cleaning.

Joint service ‘will deliver significant cost savings’

The decision to take the proposed new service forward was agreed at an SCC Cabinet meeting on 13 December as part of the council’s commitment to making savings from its waste budget, as stipulated in the council’s Medium Term Financial Plan.

The county-wide plan would differ from the existing Surrey Waste Partnership (SWP), which proposed the business case for the new service. The SWP is comprised of SCC and the 11 district and borough councils within the county, which work together with the stated aim of managing Surrey’s waste in as efficient, effective, economical and sustainable manner as possible.

Each of the 11 local councils is a waste collection authority (WCAs) responsible for collection of municipal and household waste, while SCC is the waste disposal authority (WDA) responsible for the disposal of waste collected from the kerbside and recycling centres.

Where the proposed plan differs from the SWP is that under the new plan all WDA and WCA functions would be combined under a single partnership, operating as a single client with regards to contract management and sharing savings across all authorities. Council officers will still be expected to work through the SWP to liaise with local councils to develop a mutually beneficial single waste approach.

The new plan would initially see SCC’s waste partnership functions combined with those of the four local councils currently working together to demonstrate the early benefits of partnership working, and reduce the duplication of effort inherent in the current system, while improving the service offered to Surrey residents.

It is hoped that delivering collection and disposal services through a single partnership scheme will ‘deliver significant cost savings for the county council and Surrey’s district and borough councils, whilst improving services and delivering value for Surrey residents’.

‘Working together for the benefit of residents’

Speaking about the proposed plan, Mike Goodman, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning, said: “At a time when our budgets are under huge strain from rising demand for services, teaming up with other councils in Surrey will help us keep costs down while also delivering high-quality recycling and waste services.

“I’m pleased we’re now taking the first steps towards creating a joint waste service for Surrey which has the potential to save up to £12milion a year through councils working together for the benefit of residents.”

More information about the potential benefits local authority waste partnerships can be found in Resource’s feature article.

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