New tip operators pledge better deal

JON WELCH Improvements are being promised at Norfolk's busiest waste tip after new contractors took over the site.

JON WELCH

Improvements are being promised at Norfolk's busiest waste tip after new contractors took over the site today.

The county council-run Mile Cross recycling centre in Norwich gets 250,000 visitors and handles 12,500 tonnes of waste a year.

But the site has achieved lower recycling rates than others in the county, and is understood to have attracted more customer complaints.

The site is managed by Northampton-based Waste Recycling Group (WRG), which until the end of March ran eight of the council's 19 recycling centres.

In turn, WRG sub-contracted the operation of the Mile Cross site to Brazil Recycling, run by William Brazil.

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That contract also expired at the end of March, and although the company tendered to continue running the site, it lost out to new contractor Black Dog Recycling, which previously operated the award-winning recycling centre at Ketteringham, near Norwich.

Stuart Montgomery, owner of Black Dog Recycling, said: “We're very pleased to have won the contract and we would like this to be an award-winning site, too.”

Paul Greenwell, regional operations manager for WRG, said five companies had tendered for the contract, adding that the successful bidder had been chosen not just on price but on service delivery.

“Mr Brazil and his team did a good job but we just need to raise the performance bar. We hope to give a better service to the people of Norwich, increase recycling rates and make it a more pleasurable experience to come to the waste recycling centre,” he said.

“If the new contractors perform as well as they did when running the Ketteringham site, then yes, we're confident. We and the county council will be doing everything we can to help them in that process.”

The Mile Cross site currently recycles 57 per cent of the waste it handles, and will be expected to increase that figure significantly to help the council reduce the amount it pays in landfill tax.

“It's our intention to get to a minimum of 60 per cent and to 65 per cent within a year,” said Mr Greeenwell.

Dan Jacobs, recycling supervisor for Norfolk County Council, said: “Customer satisfaction is very important to us. I would expect the new staff to give good service and I'm fully confident they will do.”

Both the council and WRG admit the location and layout of the centre is not ideal. Users currently drive into a large metal shed, but there is only room for six cars at a time.

There are plans to double that figure and improve access for cyclists and pedestrians. “We're consulting with designers as to how best to improve the site structure and redevelop it in a manner to allow maximum parking and maximum throughput of vehicles,” said Mr Jacobs.

Last month contractor Environment Waste Controls (EWC) took over the running on the county council's other 18 recycling centres.

The handover was marred by long queues and overflowing waste containers after the busy Easter weekend.

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