The Herefordshire Green Party and Independents for Herefordshire have released a fact checker that it says explains the truth on recent council tax increases, Hereford bypass, potholes, Children’s Services, waste collections, our beautiful rivers and the planters on Hereford City Link Road.

The below is a fact checker released by the Green Party and the Independents for Herefordshire:

Council tax increases

We have increased council tax for 2023-24 by 4.99%, just like our neighbouring (Conservative-run) administrations in Shropshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, in order to keep vital services running.

During 2020-2024 council tax in Herefordshire has increased by 18%. During 2015-2019, under the previous (Conservative) administration, council tax actually went up by more (19%) despite the fact they didn’t face 1-in-400-year floods, Covid or inflation.

Our coalition is protecting the most vulnerable households. We introduced 100% council tax rebate for the most cash-strapped households in 2021 and have continued this since. We also provide a Hardship Fund, with £1.7M in it this year.

Council tax supports the most vulnerable in our communities, especially elderly people, children and young people who need extra support.

Every year the council spends over £300 million of revenue (delivering day to day services, like education, social care and bin collection) and £70-100 million of capital spending (on things like infrastructure and new schools).

When the coalition came to power in 2019 we rapidly put in place new project management systems to avoid the sorts of cost overruns that had happened with previous projects like Blueschool House.  

We’ve also had to sort out problems such as the previous Conservative administration’s overspend on the City Link Road.

Hereford bypass

Most of the £22 million was wasted before 2019, paying consultants for plans that would have been financially ruinous, environmentally disastrous and totally ineffective in fixing Hereford’s congestion.  When the coalition came to power in 2019 it became obvious that the Conservatives didn’t have legal agreements in place, nor the funding.

A bypass wouldn’t work. Research has shown that only 7% of traffic in Hereford is passing through from one side to out the other (see Hereford Transport Strategy Review for more on this research). 

The issue is people getting around within Hereford. 

The coalition administration is shifting this by investing in better buses and more support for walking and cycling, especially through school travel plans.

A bypass would have cost over £200M and taken years to build. The transport strategy review showed that the same congestion reduction could be achieved at one-third the cost by investing in improved public transport and more walking and cycling, so that’s what the coalition administration is doing.


We are as frustrated as everyone else that there is not enough funding for road maintenance.

The reality is that government funding for road maintenance has not matched the need for many years. Funding has been cut every year so Herefordshire council received £100M less in 2022 than it did in 2011. Our Highways team estimates that the cuts each year have resulted in £315M missing from our Highways budget over the last 10 years.

We have a lot of road to deal with – there is over 16 metres of road per person in Herefordshire. In comparison Gloucestershire has only 8m of road per person.

We need more government funding! Yet he MPs Jesse Norman and Bill Wiggin have repeatedly voted to cut local authority budgets.

Children’s Services

Failings have affected parts of our Children’s Services for far too long. 

The children’s commissioner’s report says that the service has been in decline for at least a decade. 

After too many years of neglect, our coalition administration has recognised the problems and started taking the action that was needed many years ago. 

These deep-seated problems are now being addressed through extra investment of £22M, halving social worker caseloads and investing significantly in recruitment and retention as well as in improving social work practice. 

The most recent Ministerial decision acknowledged that change is underway and improvements have started to show through. We are determined to make this turning point work for children and families across the county – they deserve nothing less.

Better bins

We are about to see a huge improvement in how our household waste is managed

Weekly collection of food waste for composting will have huge environmental benefits and make other bins much nicer to deal with

Weekly collections of recycling or residual bins can be arranged, for example because of nappies or medical waste

For everyone else, costs will be kept down by collecting less frequently

Restoring our rivers

Our rivers are in a dreadful state. Latest Environment Agency figures show 74% of the phosphate pollution in the Upper Wye is from rural land use. 

This is a failure of both the Environment Agency and Natural England to either monitor or enforce the Farming Rules for Water. Herefordshire council has done what it can – no industrial agricultural unit has been granted planning permission since 2019 and wetland planting is underway to strip out pollution naturally.

Herefordshire Council requested a Water Protection Zone (WPZ) last year to enable better control of pollution and to support the restoration of the Wye. That was sadly turned down by the Minister. 

We believe the Environment Agency and Natural England are not fulfilling their statutory duties to protect the river, at least partly because they have been underfunded for a decade.  

A Water Protection Zone is needed to protect nature and all the economic activity that depends upon it – farming, tourism and construction.


The improvements along the Hereford City Link Road completed in 2022 completed the over-running and over-spent Conservative-run Hereford City Centre Transport project. 

That original project was meant to build the road and a transport interchange and improve Commercial Road and walking and cycling links. 

Sadly when we inherited the project in 2019 only the road had been built and there were various uncompleted Compulsory Purchase Orders along the road that still needed to be dealt with. It took time to sort out that mess.To help complete the project we integrated it with the Hereford City Centre Improvements project.

The project was funded with capital funding from the Local Economic Partnership (LEP) that was specifically allocated to Hereford City; the council was not allowed to spend this money on anything else. Therefore it could not have been spent for example on fixing potholes elsewhere.  

The only alternative to spending the money as per the original project plan would have been to give it back to central government. As the new city centre planters with benches had proven so popular, the decision was taken to spend the money we had to spend on more planters.

Care and competence

The council is absolutely in the black. We have reserves of about £77 million, and general reserves of twice the required level.

Any accusation otherwise is completely untrue.

All the examples above show that the coalition has been working with care and competence.