Shake up of waste contacts in Calderdale as budget pressures mount

Waste contracts with Calderdale Council are set to expire
Waste contracts with Calderdale Council are set to expire

A shake-up of upcoming waste contracts could bring Calderdale twin benefits of saving money and helping the environment.

Calderdale Council’s current skip supply and street waste transfer contract – expected to be worth more than £200,000 a year – is set to expire in September and councillors see this as an opportunity to start changing the way waste is dealt with.

With a budget overspend pressure of almost £400,000 on the council’s Safer Cleaner Greener services – which cannot be sustained – new solutions must be found, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet heard when it met at Halifax Town Hall.

The briefing paper to Cabinet from Neighbourhoods Assistant Director Andrew Pitts said essentially by splitting waste into different types – street sweepings and green waste in one part, and skips for general waste and inert materials in another – the process will be opened to greater competition.

There will probably be two contracts as a result, one for street sweepings and one for skips at various sites, with green waste being covered in the council’s existing major waste and recycling contract, which runs to 2024 and is held by Suez.

The changes will reduce the need for relatively expensive skips as well as waste being handled in a more efficient and environmentally friendly manner, he said.

Figures estimate the council’s use of skips for street sweeping, for example, could reduce from around 900 to 100 per year.

Each new contract waste stream – it is intended types needing separating out are green waste, road and street sweepings and gulley waste, general waste, inert wastes which include hardcore and rubble and tyres – will likely be timed to end in 2024 alongside the existing waste collection and treatment and disposal contracts.

Cabinet member for Communities and Neighbourhood Services, Coun Susan Press (Lab, Todmorden) said waste was an issue the council took very seriously indeed and she recommended colleague support the review.

“We’ve been taking a good long hard look at how we deal with our waste and ways of getting rid of it.

“We want our waste to be disposed not only cost-effectively but also in an environmentally friendly way. We are bringing those things together.

“It will generate greater competition and take less waste to landfill,” she said.

Coun Jane Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot) said the council really had to raise its game.

It had just declared a Climate Emergency and for that to be meaningful more waste had to reduced at source with more sorting, reuse and recycling.

This represented a step further, “but it’s only a part and we have a great deal to do,” she said.

Councillors approved splitting of waste streams and green-lighted a new procurement exercise.

They heard technology is now available to deal with road and street sweepings and gulley waste, the latter not included in the contract due to expire, which can turn it into compost-like output which can be used on certain types of land.

Wastes will be bulked up and dewatered, which reduces the cost the council pay to have it disposed of, at two depots at either end of Calderdale, the Ainleys depot at Elland and Holme End at Mytholmroyd.

There will be some cost factors to put in some basic infrastructure and although savings are expected the exact amounts will only be known following a tendering process, Cabinet was told.