Volunteers from across Leeds join mammoth effort to clear 'industrial levels' of litter in Micklefield

Volunteers from across Leeds have joined a mammoth effort to remove "industrial levels" of litter blown from a landfill site in Micklefield.

By Abbey Maclure
Tuesday, 1st March 2022, 4:30 pm

Residents in the village were left outraged by a large volume of waste that covered the village last month, escaping from Peckfield Landfill Site in Ridge Road in high winds.

A huge clean-up operation is now underway, with litter pickers employed by the landfill working with Leeds City Council and volunteers.

James Cook, who lives near the Ridge Road site, has organised several litter picks with volunteers collecting more than 80 bags full of rubbish in one day.

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James Cook has organised several litter picks to help clear 'industrial levels' of litter blown from a landfill site in Micklefield

After teaming up with community groups Litter Free Leeds and Eco Garforth, he was joined by volunteers from as far as the city centre, Horsforth, Guiseley and Kippax to remove the waste.

“It was nice to see the camaraderie from across Leeds,” James told the Yorkshire Evening Post.

"I tried to encourage people to be positive and part of the solution. We all went up and stood amongst such mess, it was really frustrating, in the local woods and fields.

“But everybody mucked in and put a lot of effort in. Some people enjoyed getting out and meeting others in the village and making a difference.

The litter that was blown into nearby woods

“Others couldn’t believe how bad it was. There were a lot of comments that walking around the woods, it’s not until you stand in amongst the litter that you realise how much there is.”

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The Environment Agency launched an investigation into the widespread litter pollution when the problem was first reported last month, putting pressure on the landfill site to collect the litter as soon as possible.

James said the site has upped its efforts in the last couple of weeks, with help from Leeds City Council, and was encouraged to see the problem managed well during the recent storms.

He added: "There were litter pickers everywhere and the sheer scale of people who had come in to do litter picking on behalf of the landfill was amazing.

"They focused on the areas where the litter was most condensed, the source of litter from the landfill, while our volunteers focused on the cosmetic side of it."

James said the director of the site has purchased 'grabbers' and high visibility jackets for the volunteers, as well as promising to replace broken bins across the village.

“All of those things came together and made a real difference,” James added.

“There’s still a few patches in the woods that are pretty bad - and it shouldn’t have ever happened.

"They have promised to clear every bit of litter and there’s still a way to go, but there’s some significant difference.”

Caird Peckfield LTD, which runs Peckfield Landfill Site, declined the opportunity to comment.

In a statement issued to the YEP, a spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “Landfill operators must take all appropriate precautions to prevent pollution from litter.

"We understand how distressing this has been for the community and appreciate the work carried out to clean up the litter.

“We continue to work closely with the site operator to ensure that measures are taken to clear any remaining litter and avoid reoccurrences in the future.”

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