A Pudsey councillor has called for waste disposal at tips in Leeds to be free of charge.
Those using council recycling sites around the city have had to pay a charge for disposing certain materials since February this year. The council said this was to help cover the costs of the sites.
But, at a full council meeting this week, Pudsey councillor Mark Harrison (Cons) suggested that the charges could encourage fly-tipping, and should be scrapped. He said:
“Disposing of waste at household waste sites should be free of charge, and this would help reduce fly-tipping and reduce the cost of cleaning up after the people who may try to avoid the charges.”
The council’s executive member for environment Coun Mohammed Rafique (Lab) responded by saying the charges affected relatively few instances of waste disposal, adding:
“There is no charge for over 80 per cent of the waste people bring.
“The vast majority of waste can be deposited free of charge at our sites.
“Introduction of a charge was never going to be popular, but the staff at the site say it has been met with broad acceptance.”
Coun Harrison hit back:
“Evidence is going against what you just said. There has been a 400-increase in complaints since the charges came in.
“Can we find a way of using this and making it easier for people to dispose waste?”
Coun Rafique responded:
“With regards to fly-tipping, I am happy to share information that shows there hasn’t been an increase.
“The charge helps to pay for other services such as our garden waste.
“Given the £14m we lost in these services since 2010 because of government cuts, it’s a small price to pay for a vital service.”
According to the rules, charges are made for disposal of building waste of between £2.60 and £4.80 per 25-litre bag. Disposal of tyres is charged at £1.50 per tyre.