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Councillors representing all seven of Dorset councils have agreed to sign up to a Dorset Waste Partnership (DWP), which aims to achieve savings of up to £2million per year by 2015/16.
The partnership will be responsible for delivering county-wide waste collection, treatment, disposal and cleansing services and will manage an in-house workforce to collect waste and keep streets and beaches clean.
Councillor Hilary Cox said:
'Waste services are expected to cost more than £28.5million in 2011/12, rising to over £30million by 2015/16. In the current financial climate, all authorities are facing challenging and tough decisions as we look to deliver services in more efficient and cost-effective ways.
'By joining together in partnership we can achieve minimum savings of £2million by 2015/16. Working together means we can deliver high quality, low cost services that help us to increase recycling performance, reduce the amount of waste collected and improve residents satisfaction.
'This is a very exciting project which is generating national interest from other local authorities because we are the first partnership aiming to deliver an in-house waste collection and cleansing service. This is further recognised by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) awarding grants of more than £400k towards the set up of the DWP, demonstrating the confidence at a national level that work in Dorset will be successful.'
Delivering waste and cleansing services in partnership will achieve savings through:
-Reducing vehicles by cross boundary collections and sharing spare vehicles
-Joint procurement of vehicles, fuel and containers
-Increased income from trade waste
-Cross district/borough working e.g. authorities using depots and waste transfer stations located in neighbouring authority areas
However, to maximise efficiencies and improve waste collection in the future, councils may look to agree a county-wide standardised recycling and refuse collection services. This would save over £2m a year across all authorities by 2015/16.
The DWP will take responsibility for running waste and cleansing services for Christchurch Borough Council, Dorset County Council, East Dorset District Council, North Dorset District Council and Purbeck District Council in April 2011. Due to the planned merger of officer structures and preparations for the 2012 Olympic sailing event in 2012, West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council will not transfer services to the DWP until April 2013.
A Joint Committee comprising of two councillors from each authority will be set up to oversee the delivery of waste and cleansing services by the DWP.
West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Councillors will not vote on DWP decisions about service delivery or share in the savings of the partnership until they fully join. Councillors will, however, be involved in all discussions. West Dorset District Council and Weymouth and Portland Borough Council anticipate making similar savings and efficiencies in waste and cleansing services as part of their merged officer structure.