An “ambitious” funding bid to help get more than 250,000 Leeds households recycling their food waste has been backed by senior councillors.
Civic Hall bosses have rubber-stamped an application for over £17m from the Weekly Collection Support Fund, which would help implement a weekly brown bin collection for food waste in addition to black and green bin collections.
The scheme would aim to divert around 96,000 tonnes of food waste from landfill over the next five years.
However, some councillors have expressed concerns that the bid was put together in an “unrealistic” way.
Fears have now been raised that if it fails – and if controversial plans for fortnightly bin collections go ahead next year – there could be bins chaos.
Coun Andrew Carter, Conservative group leader, said there was a particular “worry” for people who live in terraces and back-to-backs, who might accept fortnightly collections but face problems in summer months should the food waste collections not materialise.
He told this week’s meeting of the executive board: “My concern is that your real intention is to move to fortnightly bin collections without a brown food waste bin collection.
“I think if you fail to get the Government money you will revert to fortnightly black bins without food waste collection.”
Coun Stewart Golton, leader of the Lib Dem group, who also represents the Rothwell ward, where a food waste collection has already been piloted successfully, expressed concern the bid was “designed to fail”.
A pilot scheme introducing fortnightly recycling and residual waste collections is set be introduced in early 2013, and could be rolled out to 80 per cent of homes city-wide.
The bid for food waste collections would also involve an 80 per cent rollout target.
A report presented to the board said the funding bid would be “highly significant in contributing to the delivery of Leeds’ commitment to reducing its carbon footprint”.
Coun Mark Dobson, the council’s spokesman on waste and recycling issues, insisted the funding bid was a “serious and significant” one.