Join a Waste Partnership - case study

Service area:

Environment, Waste and Transport


Savings: £1.7 million per year

Partnership name:

Somerset Waste Partnership

Local authorities involved:

Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and West Somerset District Councils, Taunton Deane Borough Council and Somerset County Council.


Somerset Waste Partnership was established between 6 councils in 1992. In 2007 it became the first county wide area to combine waste service funding under a single committee of councillors. The partnership manages recycling and waste services on behalf of Mendip, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and West Somerset District Councils, Taunton Deane Borough Council and Somerset County Council. The Somerset Waste Board is made up of two councillors from each of the councils in Somerset, one of whom is the councillor with special responsibility for the environment in that council.  This means that they make savings through working together, but are still accountable to voters in the county.

Why do it?

The Somerset Waste Board is responsible for agreeing strategies and policies, its job is to deliver first class household recycling and refuse services for Somerset.

The partnership, was supported by South West IEP and manages all collection, recycling and disposal across the county saving over £1.7million per annum.

What are the challenges?

Partnering with other authorities will be challenging as each authority will probably have different preferences, however, with an investment of time at the beginning it can save significant amounts. Major financial savings are usually found in the procurement of bulk fleets rather than a small number of more specialist vehicles, where collaboration is less beneficial.

What are the results?

The partnership, saves over £1.7million per annum, whilst increasing customer satisfaction and recycling rates. They are responsible for household recycling and waste collection services, recycling sites, most local recycling banks, and Somerset's household waste disposal facilities. They also promote waste reduction, reuse and recycling.

Thanks to these efforts Somerset has one of the highest recycling rates in the country and continues to improve.


Somerset Waste Partnership
Telephone: 01823 625700

Addition Information

Somerset Waste Partnership website

Authorities across the country are looking at joint arrangements with most IEPs supporting efforts in this area. The Waste Improvement Network is a comprehensive information source whilst most IEP legacies may be able to provide advice and support to implement waste programmes. 

Improvement East has a waste workstream which aims to save £2 million from a £142,000 investment through procurement and route optimization projects:

East Midlands IEP supported transport teams from Nottinghamshire and councils have saved £1.75m since 2005 by working jointly in the procurement of vehicles and training. The authorities have standardised specifications which means that vehicles can be shared and the process is much simpler and less burdensome for authorities and suppliers:

Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands has a waste programme notably funding four districts in Staffordshire to share waste services:

Improvement and Efficiency West Midlands website