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Council to in source waste contract

Bin Wagon

Waste collections in South Ribble will once again be directly operated by the local authority.

The move comes as the council's contract with FCC Environment was due for renewal and after lengthy negotiations the authority has decided to part ways and operate the service itself.

It will also give the council more control over how waste is collected in the future with significant changes likely as we look to reduce the amount of rubbish and increase the amount that is recycled in response to the climate change emergency.

Councillor Paul Foster, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: "Bin collections is arguably the service that residents use the most and so we've thought long and hard about how we manage this going forward.

"Our contractor, FCC Environment, has in the main offered a very good service for residents on our behalf. At the time the existing contract was agreed it was a good deal for South Ribble but as we've been looking at a renewal there are some things that don't quite sit right with us, and we feel this is the time to make a change.

"During the pandemic, our waste collection crews were seen as heroes as they kept providing the vital service when the rest of us were locked down at home - while a private operator may be able to provide the service - it is always looking for profit and, in our view, this has been at the expense of the terms and conditions of the staff. We can do something about that now and make a real positive change. 

"By bringing the existing waste teams into council employment, we are able to offer those individuals better employment terms and conditions, pay and pension." 

"We've seen with the successful insourcing of the leisure centre contract during the pandemic that taking services in house opens up opportunities to improve the service for our residents and I'm looking forward to getting started."

Residents will see very little change initially - other than the crews and vehicles being fully branded as the council - but the drive to continually improve the service will start straight away.

It is expected that the government will publish statutory guidance for councils on their new waste strategy soon, setting out how it plans to increase recycling across the country in response to the challenges we face with climate change.

"The main benefit for residents will be that this gives us more flexibility to adapt waste collection services so they are fit for purpose in a fast-changing world as the amounts and types of rubbish we need collecting will change," said Councillor Foster.

"We know residents want to recycle as much as they can and a key reason for taking more direct control of the waste collections is that we can drive this forward and make real change that will help to protect our planet.

"Waste collections should be far more about what we can recycle and not just about taking away rubbish to landfill.

"We'd like to thank FCC for their work over the years, but the pandemic has shown us that the public sector is sometimes best placed to deliver vital services such as this."

6 April 2022

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