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  • GIS was critical to us being able to plan and implement new collection systems and field customer enquiries. It enabled a very efficient use of staff time and we were able to target our effort effectively as a result.

    Chas Bradfield, Deputy Chief Executive, Surrey Heath Borough Council

Surrey Heath Borough Council becomes one of the country’s top recyclers by using geographic information to support the delivery of a modernised and efficient waste collection service.

In 2009, Surrey Heath Borough Council needed to renew and modernise its waste collection contract: moving from weekly black sack collection to fortnightly alternating wheelie bin collection. The majority of residents were to receive a grey waste wheelie bin, a green recycling wheelie bin and an indoor and outdoor food caddy. Food waste was to be collected weekly and waste and recycling collected on alternate weeks. Wherever possible, changes were to result in minimum disruption (avoiding collection day changes).

Oblique aerial photographs were used to look at building frontages to make initial assessments regarding wheelie bin suitability (without officers having to make costly and numerous inspections). An initial ‘waste collection points’ dataset was generated from the council’s Local Land and Property Gazetteer (LLPG) and mapped against Ordnance Survey data (in the CadCorp® geographical information system) in order to provide an excellent visual image of the current contract areas. This dataset contains some 35 600 waste collection points and is used widely across the authority.

A completely new fleet of collection vehicles was provided by the contractor to support the move to bins from bags and the geographical information system (GIS) and mapping system was used extensively to calculate the new crew allocations. There is general agreement that, due to current low level of resource available, the contract build-up and switch to wheelie bins (and the subsequent huge increase in recycling collection rates) could not have been done without the aid of GIS and Ordnance Survey mapping data.

  • Recycling collection rate has moved from 30% to 65% in one year.
  • New collection vehicles provided by the contractor.
  • Improved crew allocations/increased efficiency of service.
  • Contact centre staff able to answer enquiries using waste collection points data.
  • Data supports ‘My Surrey Heath’ – allowing citizens to self-serve waste collection information from the Internet without having to contact the authority.
  • Authority shortlisted for an award at the National Recycling Awards event (in the ‘Local Authority Target Success’ category).

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