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Council looks to set up own waste contractor

Cheshire West & Chester Council is set to establish a company to deliver its waste services after Kier abandoned the contract.

Its cabinet is due to vote on 16 January on a recommendation to set up a local authority trading organisation, a company owned by the council but operating independently of it.

A council paper claimed Kier said it would leave the waste market after problems on the Cheshire West & Chester contract, and another in East Sussex landed it with an extra cost of £35m in 2016.

MRW has asked for clarification on this point. A number of local authority contracts with Kier have ended in the past year, but an £82m, seven-year contract between Kier and Bridgend County Borough Council was signed in 2017.

Under the terms of its deal with Kier, Cheshire West & Chester will receive a payment and take ownership of vehicles and other assets to maintain the service when the company withdraws in April 2020.

Cabinet member for environment Karen Shore said: “Kier approached the council with a proposal to end the current contract and we have considered all options before bringing this report before cabinet.

“Our waste collection and recycling service is incredibly successful and one of the highest performing in the country, which is in no small part down to the dedicated workforce and our residents’ commitment to recycling. Any decision taken will prioritise sustaining the high quality of service that residents are used to and ensure continuity for the staff that delivers it.”

Evaluation by officers concluded it was not economic to re-procure the contract, Shore’s report to the cabinet said.

The council entered the £7.8m a year contract in 2012 with May Gurney, which was taken over by Kier a year later. It had been due to last 14 years.

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