The Committee received a report on the current position regarding the Residual Waste Treatment Contract and other contracts and activities managed by the Partnership.
It was reported that the Partnership is currently awaiting an updated response from South Tyne and Wear Energy Recovery Ltd on the proposed 2014/15 reconciliation payment.
It was also reported that there has been three reported incidents recently; a hand grenade was found at Middlefields Waste Transfer Station, this was removed and destroyed off-site under a controlled explosion. There was also a small fire at Middlefields WTS, this was dealt with by staff and the fire service, no vehicles needed to be diverted. A small fire broke out at Jack Crawford House WTS in the back of a third party’s bulk haulage vehicle, this caused minor damage to the vehicle but no damage to the WTS and no injuries occurred. As a result of these incidents SUEZ is reviewing their fire risk assessments and Fire Prevention Plan.
It was noted that job opportunities advertised within the partnership area have now been extended to include posts arising at other SUEZ facilities within the area. There are also plans to extend these opportunities further, by not restricting vacancies to the waste sector only, i.e. water treatment operations.
Stakeholder and engagement events are continuing to be held at the Visitor and Education Centre. Also the Community Liaison Groups are continuing to meet.
In terms of the Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRC), the contracts are all due to expire on 31 March 2017, therefore work is ongoing to compare contracts. A Local Social Enterprise charity is collecting bicycles for recycling/reuse from Campground. They are refurbished and then sold in the local community to raise funds to meet running costs.
In relation to performance it was reported that there was 94% overall availability at the Energy from Waste site, 98.7% average turbine availability and 96.7% recovery performance, which is 1% over target. Unprocessed landfill diversion performance is 100%. In terms of health and safety there were 172 ‘near misses’. It was reported that the total tonnage of comingled and paper collected at kerbside increased in each authority area during 2015/16 however the paper tonnage by itself did decrease.
It was questioned as to the causes of the fire at the WTS. It was confirmed that at the Sunderland site CCTV showed that this was due to an ignition of some sort, possible an electronic cigarette, in the back of the vehicle. The second incident was due to an ignition caused by being scraped across the floor. It was acknowledged that the incidents were dealt with well and in other facilities there are a lot of fires, for example there has been 15 fires at the Manchester facility. It was confirmed that the insurance premium has been reduced because there is less risk of fire, whereas a lot of other parts of the industry are seeing increased premiums.
It was queried whether there are enough recycling centres across the partnership area, as there has been an increase in fly tipping and queues at some sites therefore should more centres be made available to encourage people to be more responsible for their waste. It was suggested that if centres were too busy this could lead residents to stop using them and lead to increased fly tipping. It was noted that they are not cheap to run, however it was felt Gateshead was well served with two recycling centres, similarly South Tyneside have a centrally located recycling depot. It was acknowledged that creating another site would be difficult due to cost and location, however if Sunderland wanted to open another centre this would be managed through the partnership. It was noted that work is ongoing to investigate patterns of use for recycling centre and why there are increases at particular times, also more is to be done around communicating how to recycle and when to avoid peak times.
That the Joint Executive Committee noted the progress of the project.