North Somerset council has split its waste contract into three after being warned that any further delay in awarding the work might leave the authority with no waste service.
The successful bidders for the seven year contracts were Cleanaway, for refuse collection, Biffa for recycling and Viridor for transfer stations, civic amenity sites and final disposal.
The matter was “urgent because there would be demonstrable harm to the public interest if the award of a waste disposal contract were delayed to the next meeting because delay might have prejudiced the provision of a continuity of waste disposal services”, a council report stated.
Consultancy Robert Long advised the council on the design of the tender. This followed an attempt to let the contracts last year which failed because all the bids received were substantially over the council’s budget.
Len Attrill, a consultant at Robert Long, said: “In the face of steep price rises for new contracts, the North Somerset experience demonstrates that it is possible to find a tailored solution to the procurement of waste management services that deliver an affordable price.”
Council cabinet member for environment Peter Crew said that using the consultancy to “guide our procurement team has undoubtedly enabled us to achieve such a good result”.
North Somerset had increased its 4.25 million waste budget by around 700,000 for 2002/03, but this was still not enough to meet the prices tendered.
Reasons cited for the increased prices included the landfill tax, a rising quantity of waste to be handled and the change from landfill to more costly options.
The council had extended the term of previous incumbents Biffa, Thamesdown and Perrys Recycling to cover the gap until the new contract could be awarded. Other bidders this time were Sita, Wyvern, Churngold and Cory.