New charges for waste collections could lead to more fly tipping, a councillor is warning.
Plans to charge for bulky waste collections and to tighten rules on the disposal of commercial waste could increase fly tipping as people try to avoid the new fees, according to Adel and Wharfedale councillor Barry Anderson. In its Strategic Financial Plan for 2013/14, Leeds City Council has estimated a saving of £100,000 can be made by reducing the amount of bulky waste sent to landfill and implementing a charging policy for its removal. A further £100,000 could be saved by stopping the disposal of commercial waste at household waste sites.
But the changes could have negative consequences, according to Coun Anderson. He said: “Where councils have introduced charges for bulky waste collections, these are typically between £15 and £20 for the first few items. “While this is not an excessive amount, it is still likely to encourage the dumping of household goods and I worry that the anticipated savings will be eroded by the cost of clearing the subsequent fly tipping.
“The problem is likely to be further exacerbated by plans to turn away any suspected commercial waste from household waste sites. “While I agree with this in principle, it needs to be implemented alongside much more rigorous enforcement and prosecution, with severe financial penalties imposed on those who break the law.
“I realise the pressure the administration is under to make savings but we must take care not to claw back revenue in one area by increasing costs in another. Fly tipping is not just a financial drain on the council. It is also a massive blight on the environment and a health risk.”
The proposal to begin charging for bulky waste collections was put forward at the December meeting of the council’s executive board as part of its Strategic Financial Plan for 2013/14.
In a written response to Coun Anderson, the council has said a number of options concerning commercial waste were being looked at.
It added that similar measures introduced in other local authorities’ areas had not led to an increase in fly-tipping.