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  • This is a great example of using data available under the Public Sector Mapping Agreement and the latest technology to deliver a cost-effective service to the residents of Northumberland County Council.

    Ryan Gilchrist, Information Services

By optimising its garden waste collection routes, Northumberland County Council has reduced vehicle costs such as fuel and has also increased levels of recycling.

The challenge

Northumberland County Council, like all local authorities, is under increasing pressure to recycle garden waste and reduce the amount that it sends to landfill. When Northumberland County Council became a unitary authority, it inherited the waste and recycling processes of six former district councils.

A review of Northumberland County Council’s garden waste services revealed different charging rates, low service take-up and an archaic sign-up and payment process. Furthermore, the way that the six former district councils independently collected garden waste led to inefficient waste collection rounds being maintained, which in turn led to higher than necessary fuel costs and CO2 omissions.

The solution

By taking away the former district council boundaries, that determined most of the old routes, and using Ordnance Survey’s mapping data in conjunction with route optimisation software, Northumberland County Council has ensured that garden waste collection vehicles use the most efficient routes possible.

Central to the process was OS MasterMap Integrated Transport Network (ITN) Layer, which was used to optimise the waste collection routes to save on fuel costs and reduce CO2 emissions. ITN Layer is supplied free at the point of use to all local authorities under the Public Sector Mapping Agreement (PSMA), and includes road routing information such as turn restrictions and no-entry instructions that impact where and when a waste collection vehicle can travel.

In addition, Northumberland County Council’s Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) was used to identify the location of all households that use the garden waste collection service. Other Ordnance Survey products, such as OS MasterMap Topography Layer, were used to ensure that properties were served with the most appropriate waste collection route.

The benefits

  • Optimised vehicle routes have delivered savings in excess of £200 000 per year.
  • A reduction of 1 700 miles travelled by council vehicles – an equivalent decrease of 9.15 tons in CO2 emissions.
  • Greater take-up of garden waste service has increased the authority’s financial revenue.
  • Increased levels of recycling and a reduction in the amount of garden waste going to landfill.

The products used

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