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Council chooses new waste contractor - but firm's identity is still a mystery

Canterbury city council has picked a winner to run its £40 million waste management contract – but is refusing to reveal who it is.

Members of the ruling executive met last night to pick an unnamed company – known only as ‘Bidder 2’ – to pick up litter, clean streets and collect rubbish from homes for the next eight years.

Serco is the current contractor and its term runs out in April.

The council had insisted that the names of the three firms which tendered for the contract be secret so that the vote would not be coloured by members’ opinions on the firms bidding.

There had been concerns French firm Veolia, which has worked on a controversial train system in Israel, might win the contract.

Council leader John Gilbey told the executive meeting that the choice for the winning firm was based 60% on its price and 40% on the potential quality of its service.

Whichever company has won the contract, it will have to introduce a six-bin waste and recycling system for the district’s homes, which replaces the present two-bin system.

The six bins in each home will comprise a counter-top caddy, a food overflow bin, garden waste, one for cardboard and paper, one for bottles, tins, glass and plastic, and one for ‘residual’ waste which can’t be put in the other bins.

Rosemary Doyle, the executive member for the environment, said she had visited the Shepway district to see a six-bin system working.

“I have been very impressed and if they can do it in Shepway, then we can do it in Canterbury,” she said.

Among those who urged the council not to choose Veolia was Whitstable resident and serial campaigner Julie Wassmer.

She made an anti-Veolia speech before grabbing her satchel and storming out of the meeting, followed by a man who had been shouting from the public gallery.

The council says it could be another two weeks before the name of the contractor is known. Losing contractors are allowed the time challenge the authority’s decision.

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