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LATCOs post mixed financial results for 2022/23

SPECIAL REPORT: The ending of the 2023 calendar year saw a string of local authority owned trading companies with responsibility for waste and recycling post their financial results. Hayley Guest explores.

Cheshire West and Chester council is one of the local authorities which carry out their waste services in-house

Some of the LATCOs that have posted their results within the last month include Liverpool Streetscene Services, Cheshire West Recycling, Cumbria Waste Management as well as Norse.

Some councils choose to establish a LATCO as a way of bringing their services in-house and utilising the profit made from the provision of these.

Liverpool

Liverpool Streetscene Services, for example, was established by Liverpool city council in 2016 and collects the council’s waste and recycling as well as providing grounds maintenance, street cleansing and highways services.

Two of Liverpool city council’s refuse vehicles pictured in February 2020 (picture: Liverpool city council)

The company’s financial results for 2022/23, published on 21 December, showed that it recorded a loss of £1.6 million, down from £42,000 the previous year. The figure for 2022/23 is largely in line with the is the £1.4 million loss recorded in 2020/2021 (see letsrecycle.com story).

Despite the loss, the document said that “the directors are satisfied that the company has adequate resources, having received confirmation of support of its parent entity, Liverpool city council, for a period of at least twelve months from the date of approval of these financial statements to enable it to continue trading for the foreseeable future.”

Cumbria

Cumbria Waste Management, wholly owned by Cumbria county council, provides waste disposal and recycling services to both local authority and trade customers in the region.

Posted on 8 January, the company noted an operating profit of £2.8 million in the financial year 2022/2023 compared to the loss of £3.7 million it made the previous year. The operating loss the previous year was impacted by increases in the provision for the landfill restoration and aftercare of £1.4 million and a contractual dispute reducing turnover by £2.4 million. Around £1.8 million of that contractual dispute has been reversed this year.

The company’s accounts also noted that it had invested in the processing of a new materials recycling facility at Hespin Wood.

Cheshire West

Cheshire West Recycling has, too, recorded a profit of £207,000, down from the profit recorded in 2021/2022 of £526,259. The company is owned by Cheshire West and Chester council, providing refuse, recycling, and garden waste collections on behalf of the local authority.

The document explained that “over the last year, [the business has] continued to optimise by working closely with its shareholder to implement major operational change, facilitating the delivery of the councils new Waste Strategy, whilst also seeking to grow the organisation.”

Cheshire West and Chester council is one of the local authorities which carry out their waste services in-house

Cheshire West Recycling then recounted some of the achievements it had seen in the 2022/2023 financial year including maintaining top quartile performance as well as the implementation of the council’s twin bin recycling scheme.

The company also said it had to put an interim hire fleet and an internal haulage capacity in place. To mitigate any further risk, several new vehicles are planned to be acquired through 2022/23 and the materials recycling facility at Ellesmere Port will also undergo “a significant update” with the Leslie Road facility becoming a transfer station, the accounts stated.

The company also stated that its implementation of a new internal fleet services division provided a “long-term cost-effective solution” to the company and “provides maintenance facilities for the shareholder and its commercial partners”.

Norse

Elsewhere, Norse Environmental Waste Services (NEWS) has posted a profit for the 2022/2023 financial year of more than £183,000, a fall of more than two thirds on the previous period. However, the second consecutive profit for the company will be welcomed, after a series of losses beforehand.

Part of the local authority-owned Norse Group, NEWS sells recyclable material on behalf of the seven councils in the Norfolk Waste Partnership.

Norse provides waste collection services to several local authorities, including Daventry council

Results for the 2022/23 financial year were posted last week (2 January), where a profit after tax of £183,575 was posted, a fall from £573,110 in the previous year.

Prior to 2021/22, NEWS reported a loss for three years in a row. As well as the £1.4 million loss recorded in 2020/21, the company also faced a loss in both 2019/20 (£429,198) and 2018/19 (£2.8 million).

The wider Norse Group posted a loss of £8.5 million for 2022/23, down from a loss of £12.7 million the previous period.

Norse Group runs a number of “jointly owned operating companies”, which it says replace traditional client/contractor relationships.

This includes companies in Barnsley, Enfield, Newport and Devon, according to the Norse website.

A string of other accounts are due for the financial year end by March 2024.

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