Return to weekly collections delivered strong finish to 2012 for RCV hire says Harprule Hire

January 22, 2013 (PRLEAP.COM) Business News
Most media coverage of the reaction to the UK government's offer to give councils funding to return to weekly refuse collections focused on the number of councils who hadn't taken this up. However, it's now clear that, in fact, many councils did take advantage of this and companies like UK RCV hire specialist Harprule Hire saw a strong end to 2012 on the back of this.

The squeeze on public spending in the UK in recent years has created challenges for many areas of society but it hasn't been bad news for everyone. In addition to reducing or outsourcing staff and identifying savings via efficiency and procurement initiatives, local authorities have sought to raise or save money via asset reduction programmes where they have sold off (or chosen not to replace) council-owned assets. However, this has logically led to the need to hire in similar equipment and services to the cover service provision that used to be covered by the council-owned assets and this has led to rise in demand for provision of these services from the private sector. One industry that has benefited from this change in coverage is municipal vehicle hire where reductions in council-owned vehicle fleets have led to the need for alternative provision either on a spot hire or contract hire basis. In particular, there has been a growth in refuse collection vehicle hire as demand for refuse truck hire has also benefited from the widely publicised scheme for central government to give councils an extra £250 million of funding to restore weekly refuse collections in the face of public outcry following the decision of many councils to move to fortnightly refuse collections.

Since the funding scheme to support a return to weekly collections was introduced, most headlines have focused on the fact that a lot of English councils haven't taken this up opportunity with many saying that the money on offer wouldn't be sufficient to cover the full costs of restoring weekly collections which has allowed Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles to complain that councils are turning down government help at a time when they are complaining about being cash-strapped. However, this hides the fact that in reality more than half of the councils affected have applied for the funding. Of the 160 English local authorities who had opted to switch to fortnightly collections of general waste after the introduction of incentives to do so by the previous Labour government, about 85 councils have now chosen to take the additional funding to restore weekly collections according to press reports and this has further boosted demand for refuse vehicle hire, RCV hire and cage tipper hire. Leading RCV hire specialist Harprule Hire reported a stronger than expected performance at the back end of 2012 in light of this with hire being strong right up to and including the Christmas period.

Regardless of what political parties may say in opposition, incoming governments don't often reverse policies introduced by previous administrations if this requires money to be spent that could be used to fund other policies but the continuing public unease concerning fortnightly collections became an issue which wouldn't go away and which was potentially divisive for the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government. Practical concerns about health and safety issues from uncollected waste aside, public perception was also driven by a critical view that many councils had introduced the change to fortnightly collections with marketing focused wholly on the green credentials of a change to their refuse collection arrangements rather than presenting a more balanced view which highlighted the need to change to increase recycling rates and reduce landfill whilst also acknowledging the ongoing pressures to make cost savings.