Cash-strapped Northamptonshire County Council will spend £1m over the next two years on a number of advisors to develop a long-term strategy for the disposal of the county’s waste.
At a cabinet meeting yesterday (August 14) the authority’s Conservative ruling cabinet voted to spend the large sums on the services of technical, financial and legal advisors to make a plan for the future of waste collection.
£500,000 will be spent in 2018-19 with the same amount budgeted for 2019-20.
It will also spend £75,000 this financial year on advisers to agree extensions to the existing three contracts with Amey, Suez and AmeyCespa contract which run out in 2020.
The authority spends £17m each year disposing of 170,000 tonnes of waste at a treatment centre outside of the county.
The districts and borough councils are responsible for collecting the waste and there are a range of different collection services operating across Northamptonshire, with Daventry recently moving to an unpopular three weekly collection.
Cabinet member for transport Cllr Ian Morris told fellow councillors in a busy room at the authority’s One Angel Square headquarters: “We have contracts due to expire in 2020.
“We need to consider extending that now in order to guarantee the future of residual waste treatment in the county.”
Estimated costs for the external team to develop a strategy this year are: £300,000 on legal, financial and technical advisors, £75,000 on a waste composition analysis expert, £50,000 for a project manager and £75,000 on land advisors to option sites for a possible waste treatment centre for the county.
All eight of the county’s councils look likely to be abolished in May 2020 after a government order to change the governance systems following the financial failings of the county council.
It is expected then that there would be more changes to the collection and disposal arrangements with a move for more coordination between areas on the cards.
Opposition councillors voiced their concerns about the costs.
Liberal democrat Cllr Chris Stanbra said he supported the move to extend the treatment contract but had concerns about the costs of the consultants which he said were ‘an awful lot of money’.
Labour Cllr Daniella Stone said that the new strategy needed to look at ways to reduce waste and increase recycling with targets imposed.
Cllr Morris said that there were a ‘myriad of options’ for what type of waste treatment centre but one of the best options was a centre that could provide energy from the waste product.