A fleet of nine new refuse collection vehicles (RCV) has been purchased by waste management company Avenue Recycling from Refuse Vehicle Solutions Ltd (RVS).

The trucks will be working on the new contract awarded by Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council to take over its garden waste collections and general waste collections in the Legacy Newtownabbey Council area.

This is the first time in the authority's history that it has trusted a third party to service residents' residual waste bins and all eyes are on the Belfast-based company's performance.

Michael McKee, operations manager at Avenue Recycling, said: 'We are delighted to have been awarded such an important contract and we look forward to delivering an excellent service to the people of Antrim and Newtownabbey'

The vehicles have been bought from RVS's RediTruck range of brand new, off-the-shelf, municipal refuse vehicles because they were available immediately direct from stock.

'We urgently needed new vehicles to replace older trucks on our fleet that were costing a lot to maintain,' said Michael McKee.

'Prior to awarding the contract we researched numerous companies and came across Refuse Vehicle Solutions, and they have been fantastic. They have bent over backwards to meet our requirements and are the only supplier who could provide us with nine brand new ready-for-work vehicles in such a short timescale.

'Three of the vehicles have already been delivered and the remaining six trucks will be with us in July and August. Had we gone direct to the manufacturers we would have been looking at a lead time of 26 weeks. We can't wait that long'

RVS provides a complete one-stop solution for refuse collection vehicle operators, supplying a wide range of new, used and remanufactured vehicles and support services including repairs, service, hire vehicles, breakdown cover, parts, finance and vehicle transportation.

RVS managing director Spencer Law said: 'This is exactly the reason why we launched our RediTruck service. Avenue Recycling are a growing company and this is a great opportunity for them to show what they can do. We are pleased we can help them deliver the contract on time by providing them with new, reliable vehicles'

The new contract will start on 1 May 2018 and will be phased in with the contract becoming fully operational by the end of July 2018. Avenue Recycling has plans in place to hire 20 new members of staff, primarily drivers and loaders, to carry out the new collections.

Avenue Recycling has been operating in South Belfast for over 35 years and originally started out as a Metal Merchant Yard. Since then the company has progressed into other areas within recycling, waste management and the environmental sector. The name is derived from its first premises on Tates Avenue, which is now a hub for the company's metal recycling activities.