Torfaen council hit by costs after waste vehicles problems
4:50pm Friday 15th February 2013 in News
TORFAEN council has been experiencing problems with the contractor providing its new waste vehicles and now plans to terminate the contract.
This decision, at yesterday’s cabinet meeting, could result in significant additional unbudgeted costs for the council and delays to the implementation of the authority’s Waste Strategy.
This strategy was introduced in response to recycling targets set nationally, which councils need to meet to avoid substantial fines.
Further plastic recycling for items such as tetrapaks and the introduction of recycling facilities for flats were due to be implemented last year.
The council decided to purchase ten additional waste vehicles to replace its ageing fleet and to bring in newvehicles to collect a wider range of materials.
A project was undertaken in 2011, supported by the Joint Procurement Unit in Newport, to purchase the vehicle chassis, which comprises of the frame, wheels and machinery of the vehicle and to secure a contract with a coach builder to build the ‘back end’ of the vehicles.
The initiative was supported by a grant from the Welsh Government of £449,515 with the council funding the rest.
Contracts were awarded in late March 2012 and the chassis were completed on time between June and September 2012, but the delivery timetable of the completed vehicles by the coach builder was not met.
The council is refusing to name the contractor or say howmuch the termination of the contract will cost, despite being asked directly by our sister newspaper the Free Press. Financial details were not disclosed at the meeting.
Chief officer for neighbourhood services Christina Harrhy said the contractor has been suffering financial difficulties due to the economic climate and the withdrawal of a major client.
The timetable was renegotiated after the company received a cash injection from an investor and delivery of the first completed vehicle was expected just before Christmas last year, but the contractor failed to meet the deadline. All ten chassis have been delivered to the coach builder and will need to be collected from Birmingham and driven back to Torfaen.
Fuelling the vehicles is likely to cost around £6,000.
The council is not sure the vehicles are roadworthy and this could bring further costs.
The council forecasts 55 per cent recycling rate for 2013/14, which would be reduced by two per cent if the extended plastics service is not introduced this year.