KENT COUNCILS ARE EXPLORING A JOINT WASTE COLLECTION CONTRACT

Local authorities in Tunbridge Wells, Dartford and Tonbridge & Malling are currently exploring the establishment of a joint waste collection contract, which could begin in 2019.

The Kent councils, which are all members of the Kent Resource Partnership, are looking into the possibility of a joint waste and recycling collection deal, with early discussions suggesting that a joint procurement process could start later this year.

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At present, Tunbridge Wells council’s waste and recycling collections are provided by Biffa, under a 10-year contract which began in 2009. In Dartford, waste and recycling collections are provided by Amey, whilst Tonbridge & Malling council’s waste and recycling collections are provided by Veolia.

During a meeting earlier this month, representatives from Tunbridge Wells Borough Council approved the continuing discussions over a partnership between the three local authorities.

In a report published ahead of the meeting on 13 April, council officers stated: “The opportunity for partnership working within the new contract is evident. The current waste collection contracts for Dartford and Tonbridge and Malling councils also run until 2019 and discussions are taking place, together with Kent County Council, to enable a joint procurement process to be undertaken.

“The Task and Finish Group is mindful that, whilst looking at the options available and accepting that some standardisation of a service across a partnership is inevitable, retaining sovereignty over the design and management of a new service, and maintaining the high quality of the existing service is essential – as very few complaints are received about the standard currently provided.

“There is a risk attached to the potential equalisation of differing collection costs across those authorities in a partnership but there are also opportunities for efficiencies that can be shared and for a reduction in disposal costs from increased recycling rates which can also be shared.”

This isn’t the first time Kent councils have explored a joint waste collection contract. In 2012, Swale, Ashford and Maidstone awarded a joint 10-year contract to Biffa – under the Mid Kent Waste Partnership Banner.

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