A new £20 charge for council collections of bulky waste items like fridges and sofas is now in force in Leeds.
The charge, announced in December as part of the budget, is estimated to generate £150,000 for the public purse, after some of the income is used to support re-use charities who will help divert some of the waste items from landfill. They will also collect the items for free, as a second option for householders.
A report just approved by the city council’s director of communities and the environment says the charge of £20 per collection of up to four items is “a
subsidised collection service for householders”.
“This fee level compares favourably to other councils, many of which have been charging for this collection service for some years,” it says, adding that the changes offer up “significant opportunities” for local re-use organisations and will ultimately drive up recycling rates.
“The charge will drive more households to contact these organisations to remove their waste as that route will remain free of charge,” the report says.
“A proportion of the income generated through the introduction of a charge will be used to support the work of local reuse organisations to help ensure a sustained presence in the city.”
The YEP reported earlier this year that the city has landed eighth in a national league of shame of flytipping hotspots, with clean-up costs for one recent year soaring past £1million. The number of incidents of flytipping reported to Leeds City Council last year also surged to more than 16,000, a five year high and more than DOUBLE the fines for 2013/14.
Fears were raised that the introduction of the new charge for bulky waste collections could damage efforts to clean up Leeds neighbourhoods already plagued by flytipping.
However Leeds City Council insisted the fee will not impact on or increase flytipping, and it is the only large regional council offering a free service.
Councillor Lucinda Yeadon, the council’s executive board member for the environment and sustainable communities, stressed that Leeds had been one of the few local authorities that still have a free collection.
She said the council has “certainly considered” the possibility that cancelling free collections could send flytipping figures higher, but neighbouring authorities who already charge hadn’t seen a correlation between flytipping and charging for collecting bulky waste.
“What we actually want to encourage people to do is look at how some of the bulky waste that people get rid of through that service could be re-used,” she said.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to go to the tip.”
She stressed that people can dispose of items themselves by taking them to a civic tip.