The council’s refuse service will have overspent by an extra £5m by the end of the the current financial year, collecting an extra 20,000 tonnes of household waste in Leeds – something the authority admits to not anticipating when setting its current year’s budget.
With the pandemic, and lockdowns in particular, meaning people spent more time at home, this led to an increase in household waste across the city, something which the council initially struggled to keep up with.
According to a report, set to go before members of the LCC’s decision-making executive board next week, an extra £2.2m will have been spent between April 2021 and March 2022 on the disposal of extra household waste.
On top of this, an extra £1m will have been spent hiring extra bin lorries, with a further £1.9m on cover for refuse collection staff who were self-isolating. This is thought to be the equivalent of an extra six crews over six days a week.
The report went on to claim the service struggled to recruit extra drivers due to the national HGV driver shortage, but claims the service did not see staff leave for better offers, such as happened in the bus industry.
A review is currently taking place into Leeds City Council’s refuse service, which is expected will include a redesign of all bin lorry routes, “more reliable collections” to hard-to-access streets and improvements to high-rise collections.
It is hoped this review will be completed by next summer, but in the meantime, the council says it is putting extra money into the service’s budget for the coming year to continue to cover extra costs.
IN OTHER NEWS: All houses on Leeds street in Christmas lights contest to raise cash for St Gemma's HospiceLeeds City Council’s executive member for environment Coun Mohammed Rafique (Lab), said: “The increased anticipated costs are necessary as we continue to adapt to face the ongoing challenges faced by Covid-19.
“When the service had its initial budget set for the year, it didn’t include any additional Covid related costs, and so it was crucial that we gave the service the financial support needed to ensure that they could keep working throughout the pandemic.
“For the next financial year, we will be looking to include the anticipated cost of managing and disposing of the extra waste being produced by homes across Leeds in the initial budget, rather than something we report as an overspend during the year.”
The report will be discussed by Leeds City Council’s executive board.
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