Councils to merge waste collections?

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THE collection of refuse in Eastbourne, Wealden, Hastings and Rother is set to be merged to reduce costs.

Eastbourne, Hastings and Rother councils all contract their refuse and recycling collection services out to private companies such as Veolia in and SITA UK Eastbourne.

Wealden is the only council which manages the service in-house but that looks set to change in the next two years if the four councils agree a merger.

The Herald understands the joint scheme will then be put out to tender and a private company appointed to run the service for all four councils.

Currently, Eastbourne contracts SITA to carry out a once-a-week waste collection but Wealden, Hastings and Rother have fortnightly collections.

The Herald understands street cleaning will also be included in the plans.

According to the minutes of a Community and Environment Scrutiny Committee held on Tuesday (October 18), the contracts in Eastbourne, Hastings and Rother are due for renewal in 2013.

In the minutes it said, “Across East Sussex there are a number of waste contracts approaching renewal at about the same time. Eastbourne’s contract for the collection of waste and street cleaning is the first for renewal on April 1, 2013.

“There are similar contracts in Hastings and Rother, although these are due to expire at slightly later dates than in Eastbourne.

“Wealden District Council currently provides its waste collection with an in-house team but would like to procure a private sector company to carry out the service.

“Consequently, the four authorities have been working in partnership to explore the potential of a joint procurement.”

Wealden District Council believes switching to a large private contract will ‘provide the potential for efficiencies and cost avoidance’.

In the minutes of the meeting it said, “To this end, the authorities have been putting in place the governance and administrating systems to manage a single contract across all four local authority areas.”