So, from the beginning of next month people looking to dispose of certain types of household rubbish at their local waste sorting site in Leeds will need to pay a charge, writes John Baron.
The rationale, according to cash-strapped Leeds City Council, is of course to raise more money – and they point out many other local authorities up and down the country already charge.
The charge, which will help the council save £240,000 a year, will only be made for items not considered to be regular household waste, such as rubble, plasterboard, soil and also tyres.
According to Kirkstall councillor Lucinda Yeadon the council won’t benefit financially:
“With further financial pressures on the council year on year, the decision to bring Leeds in line with other local authorities and start charging for non-standard household waste at our sorting sites means we will be able to continue to offer this service.
“The council will make no profit whatsoever from the new charges. This will instead provide a reduction in our high waste disposal costs, and will enable other essential services to be protected.”
All well and good. But the news hasn’t gone down well on social media, with residents voicing concerns that it could cause an upsurge in fly-tipping.
You can see their point. The Dispatch has covered the scourge of flytipping in parts of West Leeds, such as Farnley, in the past. It is already a major issue.
A letter sent to local councillors from council officers refutes those concerns, saying it hasn’t caused problems with other authorities. The letter says:
“…The available evidence and our benchmarking with other authorities has not identified that such schemes result in increases in fly-tipping.
“It should also be remembered that trade waste is already prohibited at our sites.
“Fly-tipping is a serious offence and we do not believe significant numbers of Leeds residents will resort to illegal activity as a result of the introduction of modest charges for these occasional wastes.”
Let’s hope the council is right on this. Otherwise our communities could be under fresh attack from flytippers. And the clean-up bill the council faces may well make their decision to charge a false economy.
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CORRECTION: Due to technical issues an earlier unfinished version of this article containing spelling mistakes and incomplete sentences was originally published in error. The correct version has now been published.