Municipal solid waste (MSW) represents approximately 7% of the total amount of waste produced annually in the UK and the statutory responsibilities for this waste lie with local authorities. The waste services provided by local authorities are mediated via contracts between the authority and service provider under the compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) regime. New regulations are now coming into place under the label of ‘Best Value’, whereby local authorities will be obliged by law to consult local people on their services, review and report on how they have performed against targets, and embrace quality within their services. Best Value will impinge on the waste management industry by demanding the continuous improvement of their services in both quality and cost terms. This research has shown that there are eight key issues identified from a survey of different stakeholders for the management of MSW, arising from the forthcoming Best Value legislation. In overall order, they are working arrangements (most important), investment and resources, performance and benchmarking, consultation, innovation, contractual terms, consolidation and finally diversification (least important): these are analysed from each stakeholder’s standpoint. The research illustrates that new working arrangements between the local authority and the contractor will be encouraged with contracts setting demanding targets for the management of MSW within a continuous improvement framework. Innovation and flexibility will be essential for contractors to reach these targets. There will be an increasing trend towards integrated waste management contracts, which will require substantial injections of capital and resources in order for local authorities to meet national and local targets for MSW. Diversification and consolidation will also affect sections of the waste management industry and company mergers will increase. Local authorities consider Best Value as a key driver for reaching targets to reduce the amount of MSW currently landfilled and for the introduction of more sustainable waste management practices in the UK.

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