Council cleared of cover-up and wasting public cash money charge

Easter Langlee Landfill Site near Galashiels.
Easter Langlee Landfill Site near Galashiels.

Scottish Borders Council did the right thing by scrapping a deal for a £21m waste transfer plant at Easter Langlee near Galashiels, even though the cost to the public purse was £2.4m, according to Audit Scotland.

If it hadn’t pulled the plug on the controversial contract in 2015, taxpayers could have been left footing an even bigger bill, the spending watchdog has ruled.

The audit body has also cleared the council of embarking on a deliberate cover-up of the decisions that were made leading to its deal with private company New Earth Solutions Group (NESG) being scrapped and £2.4m in public funds having to be written off.

Last month the Scottish Information Commissioner Margaret Keyse ordered the council to release 86 documents relating to the deal which they previously argues should remain confidential. They have until Monday, August 14, to comply.

“We believe the key judgement for the council was whether continuing with the contract would have seen even more public money lost,” states Audit Scotland.

“It is our opinion that the council came to a reasonable judgement in terminating the contract when it did.”