Spanish firm Urbaser has secured its first waste management contract in the UK with Gosport Borough Council worth £2.2 million.
The ten year contract includes street cleansing as well as recycling bank and weekly household refuse collections, which includes residual and kitchen waste plus dry recyclables.
The contract officially started at the beginning of April. Within the first two months Gosport council said residents had started to telephone in to praise their “notably cleaner borough”.
Urbaser will be carrying out a satisfaction survey on behalf of Gosport council to monitor public opinion. The waste management firm has also TUPE-transferred nearly 70 council staff members to its operations.
Stevyn Ricketts, head of Gosport Borough Council’s Streetscene unit, said: “We were impressed with the quality of Urbaser’s response from the outset. They think outside the box and add value wherever possible.
Urbaser is working with contract fleet hire firm Specialist Fleet Services which is providing more than 30 vehicles, including seven Dennis Eagle rear steer RCVs (two standard width and five narrow width), Scarab sweepers, tippers and various maintenance vehicles.
Ricketts added: “The partnership with SFS is also a big strength. Not only do we have more vehicles to do the job, we have better equipped vehicles, designed specifically to cope with compact, difficult to access areas.”
The contract awarded to Urbaser is performance related and the firm runs an open book accounting with all their costs available to view. Any savings made against the contract are jointly shared by both Urbaser and the council. An element of profit is put up against any risk areas so if the council ask for the streets to be cleansed to Grade A standard Urbaser would put any savings made into ensuring this was achieved.
While Urbaser is a newcomer to UK waste management the company has over 20 years of experience in collection, recycling, cleansing and treatment in Europe, Africa and India. Urbaser Ltd is a subsidiary of a Spanish owned Urbaser SA.
Urbaser Ltd director Javier Peiro said: “We are looking forward to showing how we can continually improve the collection and cleansing service in Gosport and deliver financial savings at the same time.”
In January the council hit the headlines when the Daily Mail reported that four staff members had been on a “jolly” to inspect the Urbaser facilities in Madrid as part of a series of refuse fact-finding trips costing £7,350.
The council responded by saying that the trip to Madrid cost £1,000 and was part of a process of securing contracts that would save the council £200,000 a year.
Picture left to right: Mark Pigott, Urbaser Project Manager with Cllr Graham Burgess, Deputy Leader Gosport Borough Council.