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Local authorities propose merger of environmental services

Two councils could establish a joint local authority company, controlled by both, to deliver environmental services and savings, as they are due to vote on the initiative next week.

If Cheltenham Borough Council and Cotswold District Council cabinets agree to the scheme, the services could be launched next year, delivering waste, street cleaning, recycling and grounds maintenance in the area.

Officials are currently assessing the feasibility of the proposals, and will present findings to each cabinet on October 13. It has been estimated that the merger could create £700,000 savings for the councils in one full financial year.

Councillor Roger Whyborn, the cabinet member for sustainability, said: “In the long run, the development of a modern waste collection service controlled by the two authorities will enable us to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and to further increase the amount of waste we recycle.

“The governance and financial management arrangements envisaged for the company will ensure greater efficiency and tighter financial control with both council’s paying for the service ‘at cost’ instead of funding profit margins of privately-owned waste contractors. This will contribute to achieving overall cost reduction targets.”

Cotswold councillor David Fowles, the cabinet lead for environmental issues, added: “Our current waste contract with SITA ends next year and we have been eager to obtain an environmental service which guarantees taxpayers the best value for money and the provision of a much requested kerbside plastic bottle recycling service in the Cotswolds.

“Joint working with Cheltenham looks to be by far the best solution – and the creation of the company would provide scope for other authorities to join in the future, delivering even more savings. The company will be a critical catalyst for the ultimate aspiration – a county-wide waste partnership including all districts and Gloucestershire County Council.”

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