Row over budget as Flintshire waste firm’s accounts withheld

Reporter:

Matt Jones

A ROW has broken out over Flintshire Council’s budget.

Members of the council’s Conservative group refused to approve the budget for last year after members were barred from seeing details of AD Waste’s accounts.

AD Waste was brought under council control on Friday but concerns have been raised over its financial situation.

Conservative councillor Alison Halford, a member of the audit committee, said: “I cannot accept this report while we are being kept in the dark. I have asked for two years for details of the accounts but they have not been forthcoming.

“For information to be kept from us is wrong. We have asked and asked for details on how AD Waste is being managed.”

Councillors could only vote on the complete budget and not individual parts.

Other political groups on the council voted for the budget during a meeting of the full council at County Hall and the document was approved.

AD Waste was set up in the early 1990s with Flintshire Council as the sole shareholder and in 2008 it was decided to bring its activities in house.

Cllr Halford said: “We have asked and asked for the balance sheets. The whole point of the audit committee is to scrutinise. We can demand documents but with AD Waste it is not happening.

“We have heard that bringing it in house has cost a lot of money. All we want to know is what is going on and what are the costs. We have been fobbed off and fobbed off.

“I did not think it was right to accept the audited accounts. I told the Conservative group that I made a stand and they supported me.”

Carl Longland, Flintshire Council’s director of environment, said: “As mentioned at the council meeting some members have had access to copies of the audited accounts by writing to the company’s registered office.

“In the lead up to the transfer over the last two years there have been a number of commercially sensitive matters which unlike the audited accounts could not be
disclosed in detail.

“As much information was given to the audit committee as possible during that time but when the transfer is complete arrangements will be made to provide members of the committee, and any other interested members, with any further information they require.”

- OUTSPOKEN councillor Klaus Armstrong-Braun has asked for an injunction barring him from speaking about AD Wasteto be lifted.

It was placed on him by the High Court in Manchester more than 15 years ago after he was accused of spying on the firm’s site in Buckley.

He said: “I was involved in the issue as a Green Party member. We found newts on the site and there were complaints from local residents.

“The judge said I was spying because of my complaints. I was given an injunction and told to stay away from the site and not to spy. I still have an injunction and should not be talking about it.

“I have now asked for it to be lifted. I am not allowed to go to the site or even look at it.”

A spokesman for Flintshire Council said: “Consideration will be given to Cllr Armstrong-Braun’s request in consultation with appropriate staff and subject to the costs involved.”

See full story in the Leader

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