Agenda item

Annual Review of Waste Contracts, Contract Year October 2021 - September 2022

This report provides a summary of performance on the Medway waste contracts and performance for the contract year October 2021 to September 2022.




The Committee received a report setting out a summary of performance on the following Medway waste contracts for the contract year October 2021 to September 2022:


  • Veolia Environmental Services – providing waste disposal services for residual and recycling waste.


  • Medway Norse – providing waste collection, street cleaning services and management of Medway’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC)


The following was discussed:


  • Nitrous oxide cannisters and verge cleansing – It was questioned whether figures were available for the collection of discarded nitrous oxide cannisters, whether data could be provided and whether litter removal from areas beyond verges was part of the Norse contract. The Council’s Head of Regulatory and Environmental Services said that nitrous oxide use was an emerging issue and that consideration could be given to collecting figures. Litter picks of verges were undertaken when they were mowed. The Partnership Director of Medway Norse added that litter beyond the verge was currently not part of the contract and that consideration needed to be given as to how to tackle this.


  • Recycling rates, HMOs, kerbside collections and commercial waste – Noting that Medway’s recycling rate was 40% compared to a national average of 51%, it was questioned why Medway’s rate was falling. It was also asked what was being done to support those living in flats and Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) to recycle more, whether there was sufficient capacity to deal with increased volume of kerbside collection waste and whether information could be provided in relation to commercial waste.


The Head of Regulatory and Environmental Services said that work was needed to encourage people to recycle and that changes to the materials that could be recycled had led to a small reduction in recycling. Public engagement, particularly with schools was important to increasing rates of recycling. Other communications channels, such as Medway Matters were also important. Work was being commissioned to look at how people in flats and HMOs managed waste. This could be circulated to the Committee when available. The Partnership Director added that the increase in home delivery during the Covid-19 pandemic had resulted in there being additional packaging for kerbside collection and that under the new waste disposal contract, tetra pak could now be recycled, there was therefore a need for this to be highlighted to residents. In relation to commercial waste, the provision of blue bags to High Streets and markets had made it easier to differentiate between household and commercial waste and therefore to take enforcement action against those found to not be paying for the proper disposal of commercial waste. A Member requested that further information be provided in relation to commercial waste.


  • Tetra Pak Recycling and Hillyfield Park bins – In response to a Member question, it was confirmed that the promotion of Tetra Pak recycling by supermarkets would be picked up with the Engagement Team and that the two bins that were due to have been provided in Hillyfield Community Park would be looked into.


  • Increased collection tonnage and increasing litter – Reflecting that tonnage of waste collected had increased from 283 in 2012 to 739 in the most recent year, it was asked why the increase had been so significant. It was also asked, in view of increased levels of littering, what was being done to publicise the higher fines that could be imposed and to catch those who litter. The Partnership Director said that there had been a significant increase in bulky hardcore tips during the previous year and that this would have skewed the figures. Increases in the collection of fly tipping could also have contributed to some of the rise. The Head of Regulatory and Environmental Services stated that litter enforcement in Medway was undertaken by District Enforcement. There were between three and six officers covering Medway with 200 to 250 fixed penalty notices having been issued. The payment rate of fines was over 70%. To date, there had been little publicity of this work. Increased communications capacity was expected imminently.


  • Rubbish sacks left in the street – In response to concern that some residents put rubbish and recycling sacks out days in advance of collection and a request that particular consideration be given to areas with high concentrations, the Head of Regulatory and Environmental Services said that projects were being undertaken in relation to provision of bins and street cleansing. Development would include the use of specialist software and providing crews with tablets for them to record photographic evidence. Information had been collected over the last eight weeks. This would be reviewed to identify the areas of Medway to be targeted. Street Scene Officers were able to issue warnings where rubbish and recycling bags were put out early and enforcement action could be undertaken if this continued.


  • Future of the waste contract and electric vehicles – In response to a question about the future of waste contracts and the use of electric vehicles, the Head of Regulatory and Environmental Services said that guidance was awaited regarding the Environment Act, including how this would impact on the management and collection of waste. A piece of work was looking at replacement of vehicles with electric vehicles, within site limitations. Consideration was being given to the use of hydrogen vehicles. The Partnership Director said that over 150 vehicles that would have been running on diesel had switched to renewable energy.


  • Waste going abroad – A Member gave his thanks to the waste collection teams and asked if it was known where the 11% of rubbish sent abroad was going. The Head of Regulatory and Environmental Services undertook to provide the Committee with information on this.


  • Hoath Way Recycling Centre and Pier Road Depot – It was questioned whether provision could be made for rigid plastic recycling at the Hoath Way Recycling Centre and whether a direct contact number could be provided to residents for any future complaints about noise at the Pier Road Norse depot. The Partnership Director said that a number of local residents had engaged with one of his managers via a WhatsApp group in relation to the Pier Road depot and that he would look at the provision of other contact methods. There were no plans for the provision of rigid plastic recycling at the Hoath Way Recycling Centre due to the cost and space limitations of the site. For the service to be provided, it was likely that another provision would need to be reduced. Any further investigations would need to consider recycling volumes to look at whether it could be justified.


  • Fly Tipping on private land – The Partnership Director said removal of Fly Tipping from private land was the responsibility of the landowner, although advice and assistance was offered. Successful prosecutions had included a 20 week jail sentence and a 5 year ban from involvement in the waste sector.




The Committee:


a)    Expressed appreciation to officers, Veolia and Medway Norse for the services provided and noted the content of the report including the Annual Service Reports set out at Appendices 1, 2 and 3.


b)    Requested that consideration be given to recording figures for the number of nitrous oxide cannisters collected and that these be provided to the Committee and that further consideration be given to the collection of litter beyond verges, that was not currently part of the Norse contract


c)    Requested that data in relation to commercial waste be provided to the Committee.


d)    Asked for liaison to be undertaken with supermarkets regarding the promotion of tetra pak recycling and for the two bins due to be provided in Hillyfield Community Park to be installed.

e)    Requested that the report looking at how residents of flats and Houses of Multiple Occupation (HMOs) manage their waste be circulated to the Committee when available.


f)      Asked that details of work being undertaken to address the issue of rubbish and recycling sacks being left in the street for an excessively long period be provided to the Committee.


g)    Requested that the Committee be provided with information in relation to waste sent abroad from Medway.


h)    Requested that the provision of rigid plastic recycling at Hoath Way Recycling Centre and the availability of a single point of contact for residents regarding the Pier Road depot be further investigated.

Supporting documents: