THE company that empties bins in the Forest is to change after more than 30 years.

Forest of Dean District Council has agreed to award the delivery of its kerbside waste collection and recycling service to Ubico when the current contract comes up for renewal at the end of July next year.

The move will see an end to the district council’s 34-year partnership with waste contractor Biffa.

The council says it expects that existing staff will transfer over to the new service provider, protecting local jobs.

In addition, the Council has recently completed its £2.14m purchase of the Old Brickworks in Cinderford with a further £1.6m being committed to cover the initial development of the site, paving the way for a new and expanded waste depot.

The decision to move to Ubico – made at December’s full council meeting – and investing in its own depot will give the council greater flexibility to respond to new waste legislation and the opportunity to make efficiencies to reduce the carbon footprint of the services it delivers for residents.

Cllr Andy Moore, the council’s Cabinet member for waste and recycling said: “Increasingly, local authorities are facing greater financial pressures.

“While no reflection on the dedication and high level of service given by Biffa and its staff over the years, changing provider will help us rise to the challenges ahead and put us in a strong position from which to explore a more joined-up approach to the delivery of our waste services, opening up more opportunities to share and procure goods and services jointly, ultimately leading to potential cost-savings for the council and our residents.

“We are mindful of the government’s new Environment Act which is calling for greater consistency in recycling collections across England to make it easier for householders to partake in their local recycling services.

“The government has also signalled the possibility of introducing a nationwide Deposit Return Scheme, which may impact on the revenue local authorities receive for the recyclables they collect and then sell on.

“Making changes to our waste service will mean we are well-placed to address these and the other challenges which are coming down the line.”

“We will be working hard over the next 12-months to implement a seamless transition into the new waste contract and communicating more fully with residents about what these changes mean for them nearer the time.”

Under the proposals, the street cleansing service, responsible for litter clearance and fly-tip removal, and the road sweeping service, both of which are currently managed by Biffa on the council’s behalf, will also move to Ubico from next summer.

Part-owned by the district council, Ubico currently provides grounds maintenance services in the Forest of Dean, and already delivers waste and recycling services for the five other local authorities in Gloucestershire as well as West Oxfordshire, in addition to managing the Household Recycling Centres on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council.

Beth Boughton, Managing Director at Ubico, said: “We are delighted that Ubico will be delivering waste, recycling and street cleansing services in the Forest of Dean from August 2024.

“Ubico has worked closely with the council since it joined the company as a shareholder in 2015 and we know how much they value these environmental services.

“The existing teams will be warmly welcomed when they transfer to Ubico in 2024.

“They deliver a really high performing service and we will work together to maintain this as well as seeking efficiencies made possible through the shared benefits of being part of the Ubico partnership.”