The West Midlands automotive sector success story is being boosted by an unlikely source – Birmingham City Councilâ€™s waste collection modernisation programme.
Almost Â£20million of orders for refuse collection vehicles and related equipment have been placed by the council over the past 18 months, with 86 per cent of the spend going to companies with a presence in this region.
Dennis Eagle, whose production line and fabrication base is in Warwick, are supplying up to a total of 117 refuse collection vehicles by the winter of 2015, of which up to 74 will be fitted with the lifts for the collection of wheelie bins, manufactured and assembled in nearby Redditch by FAUN Zoeller.
The council has used its Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility to extract social value from the deals â€“ with agreements to fund apprenticeships and cyclist awareness training for refuse collection vehicle drivers amongst the extras secured from the suppliers by the local authority.
Cllr Lisa Trickett, Cabinet Member for a Green, Smart and Sustainable City, said: â€œThe wheelie bin scheme is boosting a sector of the motor manufacturing industry that people would not ordinarily think of. Our old fleet was past its sell-by date with vehicles becoming increasingly unreliable, so this is much-needed investment.
â€œResearch shows that when local authorities procure services and supplies locally, every pound can be recycled up to as many as three times in the wider local economy.
â€œThis chimes well with the refuse collection service â€“ our aim through the new wheelie bin programme is to recycle more, rather than throwing things away, and we are doing exactly the same when using our purchasing power to buy locally.â€
Cllr Stewart Stacey, Cabinet Member for Commissioning, Contracting and Improvement, added: â€œI am proud we have been able to support the regionâ€™s businesses in this way for a scheme that will help make Birminghamâ€™s streets cleaner and greener.
â€œFor too long the purchasing power of councils has been under-utilised. Through the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility, we are committed to doing everything we can to add social value to the local economy, creating and protecting jobs locally wherever practical and possible.â€
Lee Rowland, Dennis Eagle Sales and Marketing Manager, said: â€œWeâ€™re delighted to have won the contract with Birmingham City Council.
â€œThey recognised that we could offer more than our competitors, both in terms of our products and our support. That we were also recognised by the council for our social commitments was especially gratifying. Weâ€™re all interested in the same thing: the success of our region.
â€œBesides, many of our employees live in the city, and to see our vehicles helping out on local roads gives us a feeling of real pride.â€
â€œItâ€™s a wonderful sight,â€ says Simon Hyde, Chief Executive Officer of FAUN Zoeller UK Limited, â€œwhen you see your own company products in the local area and so we were thrilled when Birmingham City Council opted for our bin lifting equipment.
â€œItâ€™s all about working together to create the best available product for the client and especially significant as FAUN Zoeller are based just down the road in Redditch.
â€œHaving secured such a significant contract with Birmingham City Council will certainly help the growth of our company particularly in terms of youth development with dedicated apprenticeship schemes, advanced training and skills enhancement for the local community.â€
In total, a minimum 135 vehicles are being purchased as part of the wheelie bin scheme, including some that will be used for commercial waste services. A total of 117 are from Dennis Eagle, with 18 from Willenhall-based dealer Greenhous DAF – providing chassis and cab which are manufactured in Lancashire.
FAUN Zoeller of Redditch and Warrington-based Terberg Matec UK will provide the bin lifting equipment with Netherlands-based GeesinkNorba providing body and lifts for the commercial waste vehicles.
Pictures from the fleet inspection are available for download and use from the Birminghamnewsroom Flickr feed.
For more media information contact Kris Kowalewski at Birmingham City Council on 0121 303 3621