Northampton has come ‘a long way’ from untidy appearance 12 months ago

It is one year ago since Veolia took on the environmental services contract in Northampton
It is one year ago since Veolia took on the environmental services contract in Northampton

The appearance of Northampton has come on ‘a long way’ since a new environmental contractor was appointed a year ago, a senior councillor has said.

Veolia took over the environmental services contract that covers street cleaning, cutting grass, waste collections and recycling in the first week of June last year.

Councillor Mike Hallam still believes there is work to do to continue improving

Councillor Mike Hallam still believes there is work to do to continue improving

At that time, the appearance of the town was being heavily criticised, with accusations that the previous contractors had ‘downed tools’ for the last few months.

Cabinet member for the environment, Councillor Mike Hallam, memorably told residents to judge the new contract after 90 days. In those three months, the council collected more than 5,400 fly-tips as well as 40 tonnes of litter. Chron readers had their say too, saying improvements had been made but there was still work to do.

So how does he feel one year on from the contract starting?

“It’s been a really good year,” he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

“If you look at where we were last year with the then contract, before the change, the grass was growing really long. We have come a long way in that time. We’ve got a much more stable service now.

“There has been some really positive feedback, but there are still areas of the town that need to be tackled. And there are still people out there who think it’s okay to fly-tip or drop litter. So we need to keep on upping our enforcement work and our campaigns.”

A number of trials have been implemented in the first year, including a reduction in the bulky waste service charge, and trialling clear recycling sacks in Far Cotton to replace the boxes.

The second year will be about building on some of those trials, and continuing to improve, said Councillor Hallam.

“We are now moving into year two, and we are looking at other projects such as looking at houses that aren’t on the standards recycling system or aren’t involved in the clear sacks trial,” he said.

“I’m hoping that we extend the bulky waste reduction to be a whole year. And there’s been a 14 per cent increase in recycling in Far Cotton with the clear sacks trial, and it was an area that was not adapting to recycling before properly, because of how the system was set up.”

He added that work on a ‘deep clean’ of the town taken on by Veolia at the start of the contract was ‘ongoing’.