THE bin collection and recycling service in the borough will likely be transferred back to the council from the private sector, it has emerged.

This is because Cheshire West and Chester Council’s (CWaC) contractor Kier has made the decision to exit the waste industry.

The council’s Labour-led cabinet will look at how best to proceed at a meeting on Wednesday, January 16, with the recommendation being to bring the service back under local authority control.

It is hoped the move will make little practical difference to people with CWaC leaders adamant the new service will “continue to maintain the high standards our residents expect”.

The service is currently said to have a 96 per cent customer satisfaction rating.

The contract with Kier – or May Gurney Ltd before Kier took them over - began in April 2012 and was meant to last 14 years. It cost the council £7.8m a year.

As Kier are looking to end the contract prematurely, the council looks set to receive a substantial financial settlement as well as all of the vehicles, staff and materials the private company was using.

It is expected that CWaC will take back control of waste services in April 2020.

Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Karen Shore, said: “Kier approached the council with a proposal to end the current contract and we have considered all options before bringing this report before Cabinet.

“Our waste collection and recycling service is incredibly successful and one of the highest performing in the country, which is in no small part down to the dedicated workforce and our residents’ commitment to recycling. Any decision taken will prioritise sustaining the high quality of service that residents are used to and ensure continuity for the staff that delivers it.

“If approved by Cabinet the transfer from Kier would not take place until April 2020, giving us plenty of time to ensure a smooth and seamless handover. Our plans ensure that residents would see no change or disruption to their service, which will be delivered by the same staff, collecting the same things, using the same vehicles, boxes and bins.”

Cllr Shore said the exact form of the new service, operated under what is called a Local Authority Trading Organisation, will be finalised over the coming months.

The precise arrangements would be considered by Cabinet in June 2019.

Kier was said to be losing money on waste contracts it held with a number of local authorities across the country, including Bristol City Council, the Somerset Waste Partnership, and East Sussex.

CWaC chiefs say that since the contract began, operational performance has remained stable, with current annual household waste recycling performance in excess of 58 per cent.