Herefordshire Council refuse to answer questions regarding commercial trade waste

Hereford Times: Herefordshire Council refused to respond to questions concerning commercial waste. Herefordshire Council refused to respond to questions concerning commercial waste.

THE costs of collecting and disposing of commercial trade waste by Herefordshire Council will remain unknown after a Freedom of Information (FOI) request went unanswered.

The Hereford Times asked how much Herefordshire Council spent taking commercial trade waste to landfill during the last financial year.

The FOI also asked how much was received for taking commercial trade waste from premises over the same period.

But neither question was answered because disclosure would, according to Herefordshire Council, be likely to “prejudice” its commercial interests.

The council also claims the requested information is “not trivial” and could be used by competitors to their own advantage and the disadvantage of Herefordshire Council – which undertakes the collection of commercial trade waste as the contractor.

The Hereford Times received claims from readers saying the council is charging “too little” for its commercial trade waste collection and tax-payers are “picking up the tab”.

However, responding to questions from the Hereford Times, Richard Wood, head of environment and waste services, said: “The council is required to make a ‘reasonable charge’ for trade waste collections.

“Consequently, we cannot make an excessive profit, which is an option for waste companies in the private sector. The council’s trade waste charges are based on a full cost recovery basis and we are not allowed to charge value added tax, hence the overall cost of the service may appear to be relatively low.

“However, the prices for trade waste collections have increased by three per cent this year and the service is not subsidised by the tax payer.”

In the council’s statement of refusal to answer the request, it claimed disclosure of the information would have a “detrimental impact” on its income target for the service.

If that target is adversely affected, savings would have to be made elsewhere, it said.

Comments (4)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

10:33am Sat 5 Apr 14

silentbull2 says...

Why am I not surprised!!!
Why am I not surprised!!! silentbull2
  • Score: 2

11:49am Sat 5 Apr 14

WYSIATI says...

Sounds to me as if that makes perfect sense - in the US now the vast majority of FOI requests are made by companies that are seeking commercial advantage - it's quite right that information that would give waste companies unfair advantages is not released.

As for whether the service is all that good - no idea - but a bit of research would tell us pretty quickly - costs here compared to other places, costs for the council service versus costs charged by commercial operators elsewhere (taking account of the nature of the county since a rural county with no local disposal facilities is at a bit of a disadvantage compared to many places).
Sounds to me as if that makes perfect sense - in the US now the vast majority of FOI requests are made by companies that are seeking commercial advantage - it's quite right that information that would give waste companies unfair advantages is not released. As for whether the service is all that good - no idea - but a bit of research would tell us pretty quickly - costs here compared to other places, costs for the council service versus costs charged by commercial operators elsewhere (taking account of the nature of the county since a rural county with no local disposal facilities is at a bit of a disadvantage compared to many places). WYSIATI
  • Score: 2

12:30pm Mon 7 Apr 14

Densell says...

If I read this correctly, the council are not allowed to make an excessive profit nor charge VAT. They should, if the service is being run efficiently, be cheaper than any of their competitors and none of their competitors should be able to undercut them without making a loss. I therefore cannot see the problem with releasing the figures. Could it be that by releasing the figures they will show that the service, like most public funded services, is not being run efficiently and that an outside contractor, making a profit, could still run the service at a cheaper cost?
Non hazardous commercial waste is not expensive to get rid of. The company I work for is in a rural area and we have a large commercial sized wheelie bin emptied fortnightly for a lot less than the council would charge.
If I read this correctly, the council are not allowed to make an excessive profit nor charge VAT. They should, if the service is being run efficiently, be cheaper than any of their competitors and none of their competitors should be able to undercut them without making a loss. I therefore cannot see the problem with releasing the figures. Could it be that by releasing the figures they will show that the service, like most public funded services, is not being run efficiently and that an outside contractor, making a profit, could still run the service at a cheaper cost? Non hazardous commercial waste is not expensive to get rid of. The company I work for is in a rural area and we have a large commercial sized wheelie bin emptied fortnightly for a lot less than the council would charge. Densell
  • Score: 3

4:13pm Tue 8 Apr 14

steveinleo says...

And they say we don't have secrets!!!!

Perhaps the council should open their eyes and not hide behind cheap excuses. This sort of secrecy usually means their is something to hide.

Hopefully not a duck pond or mortgage claims on fully paid up property's !!

Or is it the odd golf membership here and there that is blocking honest and open viewings.

Perhaps HMRC should scrutinise the accounts for tax evasion etc.

They certainly do that to us mere mortals. I got taxed on a news paper and a pack of polo's as a perk for driving 500 miles a day. My excuse was the mints kept me awake and the paper relieved the boredom of driving but that didn't wash. I got back taxed 5 years for it.
So why shouldn't we see if the competition can be cheaper after all we the council tax payers pay the bills.
And they say we don't have secrets!!!! Perhaps the council should open their eyes and not hide behind cheap excuses. This sort of secrecy usually means their is something to hide. Hopefully not a duck pond or mortgage claims on fully paid up property's !! Or is it the odd golf membership here and there that is blocking honest and open viewings. Perhaps HMRC should scrutinise the accounts for tax evasion etc. They certainly do that to us mere mortals. I got taxed on a news paper and a pack of polo's as a perk for driving 500 miles a day. My excuse was the mints kept me awake and the paper relieved the boredom of driving but that didn't wash. I got back taxed 5 years for it. So why shouldn't we see if the competition can be cheaper after all we the council tax payers pay the bills. steveinleo
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree