Nine-year Welwyn Hatfield bin deal snapped up by Urbaser

PUBLISHED: 11:21 10 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:38 14 May 2019

Welwyn Hatfield Council brown bin. Picture: Archant.

Welwyn Hatfield Council brown bin. Picture: Archant.

Archant

Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council has awarded a nine-year waste collection and street cleaning contract to Urbaser Limited.

The contract is worth £4.6 million a year and will initially mean no changes to bin collections for Welwyn Hatfield residents when it comes into effect in April 2020. There will then be no new charges for additional collections of food waste, textiles, batteries and small electrical items which will start in September 2020.

Urbaser's refuse portfolio currently includes North Herts District Council and East Herts District Council, with St Albans City & District Council among its former clients.

Its North Herts rubbish contract, beginning in May last year, was initially beset by problems with many residents left with no rubbish being collected for weeks.

"NHDC and its waste contractor, Urbaser, have long accepted that many residents have not received a satisfactory level of service since the new waste and recycling contract came into force in May," a North Herts District Council spokeswoman said at the time.

A Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council spokeswoman acknowledged North Herts had initial service issues, but said the reasons for that did not apply in Welwyn Hatfield.

The spokeswoman added: "Urbaser is an experienced operator with successful contracts in place with a number of local authorities across the UK."

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Speaking to the WHT, Urbaser's business development manager Mark Pigott said: "Unlike our North Herts contract, Welwyn Hatfield will not have a service change in the first few weeks of operations, rather this will take place in September 2020, providing sufficient time to plan."

A requirement to increase recycling, which has been falling in Welwyn Hatfield over the last few years, is also part of the new contract.

"In order to achieve this, working with the council, we will be introducing weekly food waste collections, alongside a weekly household collection of textiles, small electrical items and batteries, while we are seeking to maximise the reuse and recycling of items collected as part of the bulky waste service," Mr Pigott added.

Welwyn Hatfield recycling rates fell by 9.6 per cent, in 2017/18 compared to the previous year, which has been blamed on charges for collecting brown bins and a decision to no longer allow food leftovers in these bins.

"Like a number of councils across the country, we introduced a chargeable garden waste service in April 2017," the spokeswoman from WHBC said.

"This did impact recycling rates, however, we're pleased to see that our dry recycling rate has continued to increase, and we collected approximately one thousand tonnes more garden and food waste in 2018/19 compared to the previous year, helping us increase our recycling rate to 45 per cent.

"We are always looking for ways to improve and are confident the changes to our collection services announced this week will help us achieve higher recycling rates from next year."

Continental Landscapes Ltd was also granted the grounds maintenance contract for nine years from April 2020 at a cost of £1.1m per year for the council.

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