Pudsey councillor calls for ‘free’ waste disposal

Cllr Mark Harrison

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.


  1. I am keen to support Pudsey councillor Mark Harrison’s view that waste disposal should be free – for tradesmen as well as private individuals. I have only recently started receiving the West Leeds Dispatch, so please forgive me if this has been raised before, but when Leeds Council introduced charges for certain types of waste in February this year, their own leaflet stated that “due to financial pressures, Leeds City Council is no longer able to cover the full cost of disposal of certain types of waste”.
    We all know that the Council, like most others across the UK, is severely strapped for cash and has been for several years, which makes their management of the Kirkstall refuse facility at Cardigan fields even more extraordinary. The facility was closed for all of 2016 for a complete redevelopment, which must have cost a significant sum. The facility eventually reopened in March 2017 and among other things provided for 16 skips to take various different types of waste. Since February this year, as part of the Council’s review of waste management and introduction of charges, nine of the sixteen skips have been permanently not in use, causing frustration to individuals and tradesmen alike. In these circumstances, the temptation for people to leave the site and fly tip their waste elsewhere is understandable. The money spent on the redevelopment of the site has to some extent therefore been wasted. It seems that the Council’s strategy, at least as far as the Kirkstall facility is concerned, has been so short-sighted that they incurred the expense of rebuilding the facility in 2016 without any longer-term planning which would have flagged up any intention
    to close a significant part of it less then 18 months later.
    Can I suggest to Councillor Rafique that he takes a walk along the service road to Kirkstall power station which runs from Wyther Lane and joins Redcote Lane, which leads onto Kirkstall Road, so he can see how bad the fly tipping problem has become? Or he could take the track to the canal which goes from the NE end of the bridge carrying the B6157 Leeds and Bradford road over the canal, which is becoming another dumping ground? Or perhaps the waste ground on the NW side of Beecroft Street, between Commercial Road and Kirkstall Hill?
    Anyone wishing to report fly tipping can do so via the Leeds.gov website or by phoning 0113 222 4406. If the Council receive enough complaints and reports, they might have a rethink.


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