Southend Council reiterates commitment to keeping weekly waste collections

The new Conservative leadership of Southend City Council has underlined its commitment to keeping waste collections weekly across the city.

Tony Cox, leader of the council, said the Tories’ election promise to retain weekly collections in Southend would be honoured.

The council’s contract with current waste contractor, Veolia, ended last year and a temporary extension, which cost the council £800,000 comes to an end in 2024.

A process to find a new contractor began under the previous Labour, Lib Dem and Independent administration when a suggestion to go to fortnightly collections and wheelie bins under an extended contract with Veolia was rejected.

Councillors voted to put the contract out to tender and stated the preferred option would be for weekly collections to continue and for an increase in recycling rates.

The two-stage procurement process called for bidders to submit two priced outline proposals – one for a full weekly collection service and a second allowing bidders more flexibility in their proposal.

Cabinet will then be asked to decide on the service model required and frequency of collection ahead of the second stage of procurement. This will need a more detailed proposal which will be evaluated ahead of the awarding of a contract in autumn 2023. A new contract would start in May 2024.

Cllr Cox said the Tory-led administration had no intention of reneging on the election promise over bin collections.

He said: “It is our intention to keep weekly waste collections. We know the residents want it.

“We know from the elections and the petitions the residents want it and we are committed to do all we can to retain weekly waste collections.”

The council signed a deal in March with waste disposal contractor, SUEZ to deal with its non-recyclable waste and turn it into energy at its facility in Suffolk.

The council has had to send all its black sack rubbish to landfill after the £100million Tovi Eco Park, mechanical biological treatment plant in Courtauld Road, Basildon, failed to deliver a viable service.

SUEZ is able to extract secondary raw materials such as metals, plastic and wood, from general waste at its sorting and treatment facilities.

The majority of residual waste is put to good use and the facility then generates electricity to power homes and businesses across the country.

The five-year contract will provide a saving of around £2million over its lifetime.

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Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter