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Biffa takes over troubled contract

Three East Sussex councils have appointed Biffa to a waste, recycling, street and beach cleaning contract to replace Kier following a series of problems.

Biffa will start work for Hastings, Rother and Wealden from the end of June for seven years.

Neighbouring Eastbourne, which was part of the Kier contract, has set up South East Environmental Services to handle its work in-house.

The Kier contract began in 2013 but was dogged by problems. A Rother statement from March 2017 said a “mutual exit” had been agreed for June 2019.

Roy Galley, Wealden portfolio holder for economic development and waste management, said: “We cannot ignore the fact that, in recent years, waste collection in Wealden has at times not been delivered to the high standard we expect nor which our residents deserve.

“Before the contract starts in June, we will be doing all we can to ensure that Biffa is fully equipped to deliver a seamless service following handover from Kier.”

Simon Baddeley, Biffa municipal’s development director, said: “We’ll be ensuring our new fleet will support a seamless handover from the current waste collection provider while continuing to deliver cost-effective services.

“We are also excited to be able to use our technology to provide not only a better service for members of the public, but also a safer one for drivers and residents.”

Wealden said in July last year that it had agreed a recovery plan with Kier after what Galley called an unacceptable level of service to residents.

The same month, Wealden brought in a temporary contractor to clear several recycling bring sites. Galley said at the time: “The service we are receiving from Kier at the moment is appalling and there is no immediate prospect of that getting significantly better.”

David Mawson, Kier’s managing director for housing maintenance and environmental services, said at the time that he apologised for the disruption and inconvenience, and cited a shortage of qualified drivers as one of the main issues.

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