Service support firm Serco has been named the preferred bidder by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council for its £650m environmental services contract.
The 25-year agreement will see Serco provide refuse collection, recycling and street cleaning services, waste treatment and disposal, including the construction of a waste transfer station.
Serco is also introducing an incentive scheme to encourage residents to recycle more and send less waste to landfill. The Recycling Improvement Fund, which is to be self-funded, will be used to pay for community projects such as the creation of allotments or refurbishment of parks and playgrounds. Savings by sending less waste to landfill and earnings through improving the amount of material recovered and sold on will be diverted into the fund, which will then be allocated by a board made up of local stakeholders and representatives.
Serco Group chief executive Christopher Hyman said: “Serco is delighted to have been selected as preferred bidder for this important contract, and we look forward to making substantial improvements in these important services for the borough council and the residents of Sandwell. This contract will represent a significant development for our environmental services capabilities where we have a strong track record of innovation, and for the delivery of high-quality and efficient services.”
The company aims to recycle or compost 60% of the borough’s waste by 2020, with 35% of it turned into renewable energy and less than 5% sent to landfill. To achieve this, Serco will increase the number of street sweepers, introduce recycling bins to all households with kerbside access – enabling them to recycle plastics and cardboard – and add a food waste recycling service in 2011.
Residents will also be offered a choice of different-sized bins under Serco’s ‘space saver’ initiative, to give them flexibility depending on their needs.
Council cabinet member for safer neighbourhoods Derek Rowley said: “This is great news for both Sandwell and Serco but, most importantly, it’s great news for the residents of Sandwell, who will benefit from cleaner streets and the introduction of environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art recycling services. Waste services in Sandwell have needed to be modernised for some time and this contract means that, within a few years, we will be delivering one of the best services in the country, which is exactly what the borough’s residents deserve.”