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Camden upholds waste contract decision after dispute

Alexandra Estate Camden

The London borough of Camden has upheld its decision to award an £23.7m per year waste contract to Veolia after it was challenged by a group of councillors.

The culture and environment scrutiny committee originally decided on the contract in July, saying it would provide savings of £5m each year.

But four councillors raised concerns that residents were not consulted on the final proposals, which include the introduction of £75 annual charges for garden waste collections.

They secured a review, recommending that the award be delayed.

Now the culture and environment scrutiny committee has voted to uphold its original decision to award the eight-year contract, with a potential eight-year extension, from April 2017.

Head of environmental services Richard Bradbury said a formal consultation with residents on the final proposals was not required because of an earlier public engagement exercise, the Camden Waste Challenge, in spring 2015.

“Consultation on the final proposals is incompatible with a final tender solution, which has been negotiated with commercial, financial and legal positions developed from the procurement process.

“Adopting such an approach at this stage of the procurement process poses additional risks of service implementation delay and not having the necessary resources in place to deliver services from contract start.”

The contract also proposes the introduction of weekly food waste and dry recyclable collections and fortnightly residual collections.

Camden’s current recycling rate is 26%, according to Veolia’s website.

MRW has unveiled exclusive research showing that the company is by some margin the largest contractor to local authorities.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan tasked Shirley Rodrigues with boosting the city’s recycling rates when he appointed her as his deputy mayor for the environment and energy.

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