Barnet council to revamp commercial waste service

Barnet council has approved plans to give its in-house commercial waste collection arm greater autonomy from its household waste collection service, as it seeks to improve the provision of the service in the borough.

 Plans were approved at a meeting last month for the creation of a ‘standalone’ commercial waste collection arm, with a ‘clear separation between household and commercial services’.

According to the council the move will allow for the service to be ‘more reactive to the needs of  business customers’.
Serving close to 2,500 customers across the north London borough, primarily small and medium-sized independent businesses, the service generated close to £2.34 million for the council in 2014/15.
Market share
The council estimates that its commercial waste collection service accounts for around 30% of the market share in the borough and has set businesses a target to recycle 25% of the waste they produce by 2018 rising to 50% by the end of the decade.
Changes have been designed with a view to increasing the revenue from the commercial waste collection service by up to £200,000 in 2017/18, as well as a further £300,000 in 2018/19 and a further £300,000 the following year.
Amongst the policy changes being brought in to coincide with the overhaul of the commercial waste service is the introduction of ‘time-banded’ collections for commercial waste clients across the borough – in-line with other London boroughs including Camden, Westminster and Brent.
This will set specific time slots when sacks and bins of waste and recycling can be put out for collection, either by the council or by private contractors. Those failing to adhere to the time slots for collection will face enforcement action and possibly fines.
The council has also added that it will seek to target businesses who do not have correct waste contracts in place through an ‘enhanced environmental enforcement approach’, as well as marketing its in-house collection service to those which may be at risk of non-compliance.
The council will also explore measures to such as a pay-as-you-go service, daily collections, evening collections and a smart phone app to support easy payment as a means of enhancing the service.
Barnet council’s commissioning director for environment, Jamie Blake, said: 
“These are important first steps to creating a new, quality service that meets our goals of recycling more waste, improving our local environment and meeting the steep financial challenges that all local authorities face.
“Improving our core services and ensuring they are easy to access, efficient and high quality is just one of a number of things the council is doing to support local businesses.
“We will work closely with the vibrant business community in the borough to make sure the measures we introduce are the right ones that they are fair, offer excellent value for money and help businesses grow and thrive.”
In recent months waste services in Barnet have been increasingly under the spotlight, with the council launching a revised waste strategy in January (see story) and bringing in a temporary management team for street services team, amid fears it would not be able to make required savings from its budget (see story).
London boroughs are increasingly being encouraged to target commercial waste work as a means of securing additional revenue to support the provision of other services (see story).