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City considers scrapping 35-year waste contract

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Sheffield City Council could terminate its waste contract almost 20 years early because the provider is failing to deliver enough savings.

The contract with waste management firm Veolia commenced in 2001 and is due to expire in 2036. In addition to being responsible for waste collection and disposal services in Sheffield, Veolia runs the city’s household recycling centres and manages the district heating network.

However, the city council’s cabinet will next Wednesday consider proposals which could see the contract scrapped.

Cllr Brian Lodge (Lab), cabinet member for the environment, said: “Our contract with Veolia, which was signed 16 years ago, is no longer meeting our needs and is no longer compatible with the tough financial landscape in which the Government is forcing us to operate.

“In last year’s budget, we set out crucial savings targets and unfortunately we have been unable to achieve these savings from the existing contract.

“We need to find a best-value solution that ensures a quality waste service for Sheffield taxpayers.”

In a report due to go before cabinet next Wednesday it said the “most significant savings opportunities” related to the waste collection service and the city’s ‘energy recovery facility’ (ERF).

“The council believes that savings to the cost of the collection service can be achieved through different ways of working,” the report said. “This includes reducing labour and vehicles resources, as well as introducing policy changes which will lead to efficiency savings.”

The council has ruled out bringing the waste collection service back in house.

The report added: “In regard to the ERF, the most significant opportunity relates to the council receiving a higher proportion of the income from third party waste and electricity income than is currently received through the contract with Veolia.”

Cllr Lodge stressed that the 280-strong workforce, whose jobs would be at risk, would be consulted should the proposals be approved.

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