Waste collections in Richmond will be taken on by a new contractor as of this March.

Serco were chosen for Richmond's waste and recycling contract, lasting ten years, to replace the controversial previous provider, Veolia.

The council said no plans have yet been made to change household collection days, but said a review of service provision may require some adjustments to deliver "operational efficiencies and improvements".

Cllr Martin Elengorn, Chair of the Environment and Sustainability Committee, said: “Waste and recycling collections are some of the services provided by the Council that residents value the most. It’s important that we can provide a service that is both efficient and cost effective.

“The Council has to make significant savings over the next few years; this major contract will not only offer improved service delivery, a new fleet, retained weekly collections and greater efficiency, it can also be delivered at a cost close to the existing Council budget provision.

“The Council will work with Serco to continue to improve our recycling rate across the borough – identifying ways to work with residents to encourage them to engage in our already comprehensive service. Serco will also be involved in assisting the Council in delivering its climate change objectives”.

Under the new contract, due to come into effect on March 30, Richmond’s non-recyclable waste will continue to be delivered to energy-from-waste incinerators, which generates electricity for the National Grid.

Richmond’s food waste will also continue to be processed by anaerobic digestion, which produces gas for the National Gas Grid along with a compost-like material known as “digestate” which is used as a fertiliser on farmland.

The new refuse collection vehicles, will be fitted with a range of safety features including 360-degree cameras, an ‘auto stopping system’ which automatically apply the vehicle brakes when movement is sensed during reversing, and a cycling safety system.

They are due to be introduced starting from this Autumn.

With the exception of the garden waste vehicles all other vehicles will have two separate compartments - which means that more than one type of waste can be collected on each vehicle, resulting in less vehicles on the road.