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New household waste contract to start in Breckland and west Norfolk

Published: 23 Mar 2021

A new household waste and recycling collection contract is due to start in April for residents of Breckland Council and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk.

Three Norfolk councils worked together to appoint a single provider, which has saved taxpayers money, and has been running in North Norfolk since April 2020. Serco will start the new contract for collections in Breckland and west Norfolk from April 2021 in addition to their work in the north of the county.

Residents can expect their collections to take place as they have done before as there are no proposed changes to collection rounds.

As well as household bin collections, Serco will also be delivering general waste and recycling collections on alternate weeks and household bulky waste collections. In Breckland and North Norfolk Serco will also undertake street cleaning, removal of fly-tipped materials, litter and dog bin management, and grass cutting. The combined contract is worth in excess of £230m and will initially run for nine years in North Norfolk and eight years in Breckland and west Norfolk, with an option to extend by up to a further eight years.

Working together also brings benefits to service delivery, as cross-boundary working means vehicles, staff and other assets can be shared so the teams can work more effectively across multiple areas. During the first year of the contract, investment will also be made into shared IT systems, so real-time service information is available to residents and it is made easier for people to book additional services online, such as garden waste collections.

The contract will also see a brand-new fleet of bin collection trucks and other vehicles rolled out, which will operate across all three council areas. These will include reduced emissions and hybrid vehicles.

Serco has been the provider of waste services in Breckland previously but a different provider was used before this contract in the other two districts. The new contract is unique as this is the first time three Norfolk councils have jointly tendered for waste collection and associated services contracts and in doing so they have cut the costs of the process by sharing legal fees and procurement costs, rather than incurring three sets of costs for seeking a provider separately.  The councils have worked very closely together to deliver the very best outcome for all residents.

Cllr Sam Chapman-Allen, Breckland Council's Leader, commented: "The new Serco waste contract is a great example of collaboration with our local government partners, ensuring a new deal that will deliver an even better service than we already receive, at a best-value price. The new waste collection vehicles are a real improvement, especially as they will now make our collections more energy and fuel efficient, which is also great for our environment. I'm confident that residents will really notice the difference over the coming months.”

Cllr Brian Long, Leader of the Borough Council of King's Lynn & West Norfolk, added: "Working jointly has meant we can offer an improved service and take advantage of cross-district collection rounds. This drives greater efficiency and lower emissions. The contract also includes some electric and hybrid vehicles helping us towards our goal of carbon neutrality."

Cllr Nigel Lloyd, Portfolio Holder for Environmental Services, Climate Change and Environment, added: "I am delighted that by partnering with other councils North Norfolk will be able to provide improved refuse collection services, reduce our carbon footprint and save costs for our residents. North Norfolk's contract started in April 2020 with a seamless transition from the previous contractor. Brand new refuse collection trucks that incorporate lower carbon emission innovations are now on the road serving North Norfolk residents. We welcome the collaboration with Breckland and West Norfolk Councils and we look forward to working with them over the duration of the contract."

Regional Director for Serco, Annette Joyce, added: "Having successfully delivered waste, recycling, street cleaning and grounds maintenance for Breckland Council since 2005, we are looking forward to expanding upon this success with the award of this new shared services contract with these three councils. We are delighted to continue our investment in Norfolk and bring further improvements for the residents and communities in the coming years whilst providing real value for money.”