St Albans waste contractor insists: 'We're not paying for Putin's war'

Veolia has denied links with Russia.

Veolia has denied links with Russia. - Credit: Alexis Duclos

The company responsible for rubbish and recycling in St Albans district is not funding the Russian war effort in Ukraine, it has insisted.

According to research by Yale University highlighted in The Independent, 214 companies have maintained an economic presence in Russia since the start of the war.

They had received hundreds of millions of pounds from contracts with Whitehall departments, local authorities, public and civic bodies and NHS trusts.

The report named Veolia as one of the beneficiaries, which could have proved embarrassing for St Albans district council (SADC) as it contracts the company to provide local refuse and recycling operations.

SADC refused to comment on its business dealings with the company, insisting this newspaper contact Veolia direct for a response.

In a statement from a Veolia spokesperson, the company said: "We utterly condemn war and violence in Ukraine. We are providing absolutely no new funding for our operations in Russia and have stopped all new investment and all financial flows between the group and our Russian subsidiary.

“In full compliance with the current sanctions regime, we are maintaining our responsibility to our employees and the communities we serve by continuing our vital public service operations in both Ukraine and Russia.

"The refuse and recycling services we deliver in St Albans are carried out by Veolia UK, which does not have any operations in Russia."

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It is not the first time SADC has been embroiled in the war. In March a review of council accounts showed the authority has been using Gazprom - the Russian majority state owned oil/gas company - as the preferred supplier for Batchwood Hall, formerly a nightclub and more recently a Covid vaccination centre.

An SADC spokesperson said Batchwood Hall was on a long-term lease to a nightclub, and at some point, the club must have taken out a contract with Gazprom for its energy supply.

The council swiftly acted to freeze all payments to Gazprom while they reviewed recent bills and the Batchwood contract.