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Fleet changes in city of Vikings

Some of the biggest changes in York’s recycling and waste collection rounds are due to come into effect next month. Geoff Derham, head of Head of Waste & Fleet Services explains why

City of York Council will be introducing a number of citywide changes this September to improve the efficiency of household waste and recycling collections. This will be some of the biggest changes to take place in this service.

These changes have been taking shape over the last year and include measures like introducing a new fleet that can load/unload waste quicker - saving time and money.

In preparation for September we have invested in the new waste and recycling vehicles to increase productivity by 5% meaning the council will have the capacity to make another 750 collections per week, reduce the amount of fuel used by 20% and result in even more waste being diverted from landfill.

The current fleet has been in service for five years - which is the average lifespan for waste and recycling vehicles - and has made a total of 35 million collections during that time.

We are committed to remaining one of the top performing waste and recycling authorities in the UK, by continuing to collect 99.98% of all commercial and residential recycling and waste collections right first time.

In order to continue this level of service, as the current fleets become costly to repair and inefficient on fuel, we procured the new vehicles through ongoing revenue funding.

The waste vehicles are larger, 32 tonnes gross weight instead of 26 tonnes, and can hold a much greater volume of waste: 16 tonnes instead of 10 tonnes.  They have the ‘cleanest’ large diesel engines on the market - to the latest European Standard - meaning reduced emissions, and are fitted with electric bin lift systems which require no fuel to run, saving 20% on fuel costs, and are much quieter when in use.

The recycling vehicles are also larger in capacity, holding eight tonnes of recyclable materials instead of 2.5 tonnes, and designed so that crews can load materials easier and faster. We are the first authority in the country to introduce this size vehicle to our fleet.   Instead of having to stop and wait for materials to be lifted up and tipped into the vehicle, they can be continuously loaded into the rear.

The vehicles are also equipped with new equipment designed to track all the waste vehicles and provide information on vehicle efficiency (i.e. fuel use) to ensure the council can maximise the use of its service and realise necessary savings.

We are also making changes to the recycling and waste collection rounds. We are currently consulting on a new Local Plan for York, which outlines planning and development in the city over the next 15 years and beyond. Within the plan, 22,000 new homes are being proposed and we need to ensure we have measures in place to collect and dispose of the projected increase in waste.

The new vehicles are designed so that we can now access the 1% of households in remote parts of York – meaning an additional 750 collections could be made per week. Crews will also be able to see first-hand if properties require special action, such as assisted collections, and they can receive direct information from the York Customer Centre in real time, on issues such as damaged bins and non-presented bins. Instant messaging is also a part of the system and will, as it is rolled out across the fleet, replace reliance on mobile phones.

The council is also following the lead of a number of other authorities, including Bath & North East Somerset, Bolton and Perth & Kinross, by introducing CCTV cameras in its fleet. This will provide a live feed to enable officers to monitor vehicles and increase supervision, as currently there are three supervisors managing 40 vehicles.  This will also be linked to the tracking system so that, if necessary, footage can be used as evidence to support residents’ reports of damaged bins or for insurance claims.

The cost of the new technology will be spread through the vehicles’ five to seven year life span – meaning there is no upfront cost. This technology will help contribute £10,000 in 2013/14 - through reducing accident damage and spurious third party insurance settlements - towards the waste services review. This is a programme to redesign our services, introduce new and smarter ways of working, and reduce our cost liability in handling certain waste types. 

All front line refuse and recycling vehicles will be fitted with the new technology over the course of the vehicle replacement programme throughout the next financial year 2013/14.

The efficiency of the new vehicles will be greatly improved and contribute to the savings target for the service of £300,000 in 2013/14.

Waste Services Review: making savings

City of York council’s Waste Services Review is a programme to redesign its services, introduce new and smarter ways of working, and reduce its cost liability in handling certain waste types.  It also focuses on disposal arrangements and costs for certain types of waste and seeking to identify if additional waste streams, particularly food waste, can be added to its service without a significant increase in costs.  

In April, the council’s cabinet approved the removal of its garden waste service during winter months (November to March) with effect from November 2013, which the council said would result in cost savings of £67,000 per year.

Of those who responded to its consultation there was little support for a subscription charge for garden waste collections, with 85.4%  opposed to charging all year round and 60.7% opposed to charging in the winter months. But there was support for removing the garden waste service during the winter months, with 71.2% of all residents supporting these proposals including 61.5% of residents who currently use the winter service. 

The Cabinet also approved the introduction of an annual £35 charge for additional garden waste bins, after 64.6% of residents consulted said they were in favour of such a move. Its initial findings are that 3,500 paying customers would use this service, which would therefore generate £122,500 per year.

In addition, the council approved the closure of the Towthorpe Household Waste Recycling Centre on a Wednesday, with the move saving the council £11,000 a year on site opening costs.

The council is now looking at the introduction of a combined food and garden waste collection, as  neighbouring East Riding of Yorkshire council has seen landfill reduce by 15% since introducing such a service. City of York council hopes such a move will help it achieve its target recycling rate of 50% by 2020 and achieve savings of £10,400 per year on disposal costs.

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