22 January 2020 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
Richmond Council has awarded a new waste and recycling collection contract to Serco.
The 10-year deal is due to start on 30 March. Under the new contract Richmond's non-recyclable waste will continue to be delivered to energy-from-waste incinerators, which generates electricity for the National Grid.
Richmond's food waste will also continue to be processed by anaerobic digestion, which produces gas for the National Grid Gas, along with a compost-like material known as 'digestate', which is used as a fertiliser on farmland.
Councillor Martin Elengorn, chair of the environment and sustainability committee, said: "Waste and recycling collections are some of the services provided by the council that residents value the most. It's important that we can provide a service that is both efficient and cost-effective. The council has to make significant savings over the next few years; this major contract will not only offer improved service delivery, a new fleet, retained weekly collections and greater efficiency, it can also be delivered at a cost close to the existing council budget provision.
"The new EURO6 refuse collection vehicles, to be in place by the autumn, will be fitted with a range of safety features including 360-degree cameras, an auto-stopping system, which automatically applies the vehicle brakes when movement is sensed during reversing and a cycling safety system, all designed to ensure safe working practices.
"With the exception of the garden waste vehicles, all other vehicles will have two separate compartments. This means more than one type of waste can be collected on each vehicle, resulting in fewer vehicles on the road."
Once the contract is under way, Serco will work with the council to develop "innovative initiatives aimed at improving the collection service and customer experience". For example, by linking the vehicles' computer system to the council's customer service team Serco will have access to "real-time updates to issues and will be able to track service progress helping them [to] provide better advice and support to residents who need it".