Veolia has won an eight-year £209m contract with the South London Waste Partnership (SLWP) for a joint collection and recycling service across four local authorities.
The partnership’s senior councillor said such cross-authority arrangements would have to become the norm if the Government is to achieve more harmonised collections across England.
The SLWP roll-out will be phased over a two-year period, with Sutton being the first borough to switch immediately.
Recycling will be alternate weekly. A new separate weekly food waste collection is being introduced and residual waste will be collected every two weeks. Veolia will also manage the subscription-based garden waste service.
The new regime will be introduced in Merton and Croydon in October 2018 and Kingston in April 2019.
Merton and Sutton previously delivered their services in-house and 330 council workers will transfer to Veolia under TUPE arrangements [existing terms and conditions]. Veolia already provides a range of environmental services in Croydon and Kingston.
The contract also covers street cleansing, commercial waste, recyclate sales, winter gritting and vehicle management.
We have the opportunity to harmonise services across the four London boroughs to deliver significant cost savings and high-quality, reliable services
Estelle Brachlianoff, Veolia UK
The SLWP has also appointed ID Verde UK to provide maintenance services for parks, grounds and cemeteries across Merton and Sutton. This £26m contract started in February 2017 and 89 staff have transferred under TUPE.
Phil Doyle, chair of the SLWP joint committee, said the new arrangements would beat the councils’ target of £30m savings.
“Working together, the four boroughs have negotiated excellent deals with two commercial partners that bring huge experience and expertise to the table.
“Recycling and rubbish collection in particular is such a sensitive and difficult service to be redesigning. Doing this across four London boroughs, with three political parties in power, was seen by some as too difficult.
“This sort of cross-party, cross-boundary working is going to have to become the norm if we are to achieve the more harmonised approach to waste collections that regional and national Government are advocating.”
Estelle Brachlianoff, Veolia’s senior executive vice-president, UK and Ireland, said: “Through the partnership, we have the opportunity to harmonise services across the four London boroughs to deliver significant cost savings and high-quality, reliable services that will boost sustainability and preserve resources.”
In 2015, Veolia won the contract for SLWP’s six household waste and recycling centres.
Construction is currently underway of an energy recovery plant at Beddington to process 275,000 tonnes of residual waste for the partnership and it will be operated by Viridor.