Lincolnshire councils face increasing waste collection costs

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Councillors facing increased costs over changes to their waste collection services, could face worse consequences if nothing is done, says the county council’s waste committee chairman.

The county’s draft waste strategy before the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership (LWP) on Thursday was told that, compared to the current system which has a baseline of around £35 million, options before the council could cost between an extra £2.1 million to £5.9million.

Councillors agreed to engage analysts to do more work to investigate alternative sources of income.

Following the meeting chairman Councillor Eddie Poll acknowledged any changes were going to cost, but said the reports did not take into account any extra income.

He also said the council needed to look longer-term.

“The important thing, the one thing that was missing from the presentation report today was what are the costs of doing nothing – if we carry on doing nothing costs will rise,” he said.

“If we change nothing, at what rate will costs escalate? That will be a real important find.

“It must be cheaper than doing what we’re doing in five years time.”

Options investigated included dedicated food waste vehicles, increasing recycling ‘streams’ and reducing contamination.

A consultation on the changes was said to be positive with 147 responses received, of which 89% agreed with the vision of the LWP.

Respondents to the consultation did point out that specific actions needed to be identified to show how the organisation will work.

The council is also looking at how to reduce the amount of waste at the energy to waste plant – which is currently full to capacity – and whether savings can be made by reviewing gate costs at the facility.

Further comments were divided over whether food waste collections, which the partnership is currently trialling, were a good idea – with concerns over smells and infection coming to the fore.