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Recycling and roads success leads to prestigious awards for council

Exceeding recycling targets and the success of a 48-hour pothole repair pledge are among the reasons why Swansea Council has been recognised for excellence.

patch road repair

The council's waste management and highways departments both won service team of the year at the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) awards in Oxford on Thursday night (September 7), beating off competition from other councils across the UK. 

Swansea's recycling rate is now estimated to be about 63.7 per cent, beating the Welsh Government target by more than five per cent. But with the Welsh Government target increasing to 64% by 2020, innovative work is continuing to take place across Swansea to generate an even higher recycling rate, with special focus on communities where take-up rates are low. On-going work includes residents being provided with new reusable pink bags for household plastic recycling, following on from changes at some household recycling centres where black bag waste is no longer allowed.

A 48-hour pothole repair pledge launched this time last year means over 4,300 potholes across the city have been fixed within two days of being reported, boosting other work done every day to maintain Swansea's roads. 

The new Morfa Distributor Road has recently opened, with a programme to replace streetlights across the city with more energy-efficient lights having also now been completed.

Cllr Mark Thomas, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Environment Services, said: "Waste management and the condition of our roads are among the most important services for Swansea residents, which is why it's especially pleasing to have beaten off competition from councils across the UK win these prestigious awards.

"While our highways service has been working around the clock to keep the city moving, our waste management service has been pulling out all the stops to help Swansea reach its Welsh Government recycling target three years ahead of schedule.

"But while we're delighted to have been recognised for excellence, the challenge now is to maintain and get even better in coming years, which is why we'll continue to explore innovative ways of meeting the needs of both the council and the residents we serve."

At the APSE awards, Swansea Council was also shortlisted for overall council of the year, with the council's building services team having been shortlisted in the service team of the year and workforce development categories.

Cllr Clive Lloyd, Swansea Council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Service Transformation and Business Operations, said: "The scale of the reductions in government funding could have led to service cuts in Swansea, but that's not what we or our residents want. That's why we have looked for innovative, sustainable solutions to consolidate and even improve our performance, despite the enormity of the financial challenges we're facing.

"These awards are well-deserved recognition for our staff. They're a snapshot of the great work that's done every day to benefit residents across the city, which often goes unnoticed."

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