Posted: Wed 5th Jul 2023

Blaenau Gwent council’s fuel tanks ‘are not usable’ /
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jul 5th, 2023

A LACK of storage tanks will see a council shouldering higher fuel costs for the “foreseeable” future. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

At a meeting of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s Corporate Overview and Performance Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday, July 5, it was revealed that fuel tanks at a council depot are “unusable.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The councillors were looking at the budget report for the end of the 2022/2023 financial year, which saw the council post a surplus of £180,000 – set to rise to £1.2 million after money from various council budgets and reserves are moved around.
But this glosses over a number of departmental overspends – which includes the environment departments, which posted a £730,000 loss.
Part of this includes the council’s Winter maintenance commitment to the borough council’s roads, which showed a £155,000 “adverse variance.”
The report showed that the price of salt to grit the roads had gone up by £8 a tonne, staff costs had also gone up, and gritters had been called out 22 more times compared with 2021/2022.
Labour’s Cllr Chris Smith said: “To come to the winter maintenance – the fuel costs have increased up by 35 per cent which I fully understand.
“But it says that the council is paying a higher rate for fuel through using a local supplier, is that going to continue?
“Do we not buy our own fuel anymore?” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Resources chief officer, Rhian Hayden said: “We have an issue with the fuel tanks at the depot.
“They are not usable at this moment in time so we can’t store our own fuel.
“As a consequence, we have had to utilise a forecourt.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Ms Hayden believed there was “probably” a contract in place with a garage for suitable rates “but they would be higher” than the cost of storing fuel.
Ms Hayden said: “I’m not aware that we’ve been able to progress with replacing or mending the fuel tanks so that is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.”
Cllr Smith said: “It’s an ongoing problem then.”
Ms Hayden replied: “Yes.”
In recent years, the council has been mulling over building a new ‘Centre of Operations’ at the Marine Colliery site in Cwm, near Ebbw Vale, as a direct replacement for the existing Central Depot in Brynmawr. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

By BBC LDRS ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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