Skip to main content

Four London boroughs to make decisions on future provision of waste collection and street cleaning services

30 September 2022

The four boroughs of the South London Waste Partnership (Croydon, Kingston, Merton and Sutton) are each about to make an important decision on whether to extend the contract they jointly hold with Veolia for the provision of a range of environmental services, including waste collection and street cleansing.

The officer recommendation, which has been informed by a comprehensive options appraisal, being presented to the boroughs’ four Committees is not to extend the contract; but the decision ultimately rests with the elected Committee Members.

Merton’s Cabinet Committee will be the first of the four to consider the recommendation and make a decision on 10 October 2022. Papers for that Committee meeting were published today (30 September 2022) and can be viewed on the Merton Council website.

The contract with Veolia was awarded in 2017. It has an initial eight-year term (ending in March 2025) with the option to extend for a further eight years.

Andrea Keys, Partnership Director for the South London Waste Partnership (SLWP), said:

“In 2017, the four SLWP boroughs commissioned an innovative, harmonised waste collection and street cleansing contract. This contract has delivered substantial cost savings, a significant reduction in general rubbish and a step-change in recycling: all four SLWP boroughs are now in the top seven in London for recycling. We were also able to work with Veolia to continue to deliver high quality frontline services throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic. There is a lot to be very proud of.

“But the contract has also had its challenges. Veolia’s proposal to extend the contract reflects the significant changes in the wider market since it was signed five years ago, and, following a detailed options appraisal, the outcome shows that the partners may benefit from new specifications that reflect borough-specific service priorities and performance standards. After taking all things into account, officers in the four partner boroughs have decided to recommend to their Members that recommissioning the services would be in the boroughs’ best interests.”

The opportunity to recommission services comes at an opportune time for a number of reasons: Firstly, the boroughs are all at a pivotal point in their carbon reduction agendas; a recommissioning exercise presents an opportunity for services to be designed with carbon reduction at their core. Secondly, Covid-19 and the resulting increase in home-working has had a significant impact on the volumes and types of waste being collected from homes across the region. And thirdly, there are major legislative changes on the horizon such as Consistency in Collections, Deposit Return Scheme, Extended Producer Responsibility and the Plastic Packaging Tax.

Recommissioning will allow each borough to review and redesign their services in order to reflect these changing needs. They will also be free to make their own decisions on how best to maximise joint working opportunities; there will certainly be things that are still best done together, and these new arrangements will not prevent that from happening.

A comprehensive programme of resident engagement will be held during the autumn providing local people with an important opportunity to provide feedback on waste collection and street cleaning services; what currently works, what doesn’t and what the priorities should be for the future.


Notes to Editors

  • The recommendations will be considered by each of the following Committees (Committee papers and further details of the meetings will be available from the relevant council website):
    • 10 October 2022 – Merton Cabinet Committee Meeting
    • 13 October 2022 – Sutton Environment & Sustainable Transport Committee Meeting
    • 8 November 2022 – Kingston Place Committee Meeting
    • 16 November 2022 – Croydon Cabinet Committee Meeting
  • Under the recommendations, The South London Waste Partnership would continue to act as a central resourcing and coordination function, providing centralised technical support to the boroughs in relation to their waste collection and street cleaning contracts. The SLWP would also continue to maintain strategic oversight for waste management across the four boroughs, including the development of a new Joint Waste Strategy, carbon baselining and monitoring, waste composition analysis, infrastructure appraisal, resident consultation and engagement and operational trials. Management of the existing residual waste treatment contract (with Viridor), the receipt transfer and treatment of recycling, and the management of the six Household Reuse and Recycling Centres (which is also due for renewal in 2025) would also remain within the remit of the SLWP.

Next Story

View all news