Veolia allowed to bid for waste contract after Caerphilly Council ban lifted
A ban preventing Caerphilly County Borough Council from dealing with company Veolia Environmental Services has been lifted.
In November 2010, the council adopted a motion by Labour councillor Ray Davies ordering the then Plaid leader and the chief executive not to sign any deal with Veolia or “any company in breach of international law”.
But the Labour-controlled council has now lifted the restrictions after being told that Veolia had not been in breach of international law. It is one of the two remaining bidders for the Project Gwyrdd contract.
Cllr Davies, who is a Labour councillor, originally put forward the motion because of its business activities in Israel.
After the ban was lifted in his absence, Cllr Davies said: “I’m bitterly disappointed. It was most upsetting that it happened while I was away.
“The council phoned me up and told me the report was going to cabinet while I was on holiday. I said to the legal department that as far as I was concerned the council should still refuse Veolia on the shortlist [for Project Gwyrdd]. They’re going to make millions – let Veolia take the council to court.”
Plaid Cymru councillors – who had control of the council when the ban was introduced – have criticised the lifting of the ban.
Councillor Colin Mann, leader of the council’s Plaid group, said: “We are opposing changing policy on this, certainly until we are provided with better information.
“There was a simple two-page report from the deputy chief executive which merely just said that investigations had concluded that Veolia had not been in breach of international law.
“But the Plaid group felt the report was inadequate with very few short paragraphs and no evidence to support the lifting of the restrictions on Veolia. We wanted to defer the matter for more information but that was defeated by the ruling Labour group.
“This is not about a specific company but about the principle that this council or any other public authority should be trading with companies that carry on doubtful practices whether in Britain or elsewhere in the world.
“All councillors were sent information claiming that Veolia Environmental Services were in breach of international law in its dealings with the Israeli state and that included a legal opinion from renowned solicitors Hickman and Rose.
“Labour has chosen to ignore this evidence. There should have been more comprehensive information available. Instead Labour chose to whip this decision through the council in the absence of Councillor Ray Davies.”Follow @CaerphillyObsvr