A PUBLIC consultation has begun on the closure of Otley's Ellar Ghyll Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Leeds City Council is looking at the closure as a way of saving £110,000 per year. The council says it faces significant challenges with its budget, because of coronavirus and reductions in funding from central government.

The Otley site has been identified for closure because of factors including the number of visitors, size of the site and proximity to a site with better facilities at Yeadon. Per tonne of waste collected, Ellar Ghyll has the highest costs at more than £97 per tonne compared to the Yeadon site at more than £60.

A council spokesperson said: “Leeds City Council is facing some extremely difficult decisions due to financial pressures caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. We urgently need to address the £119million gap in the city’s budget for the next financial year (April 2021 to March 2022), so we have had no choice but to develop some proposals to achieve savings.

“This public consultation is an extremely valuable process for us to understand the views of local residents, and fully consider them before we agree on any final proposals.”

Guiseley and Rawdon ward councillor, Paul Wadsworth, who is also shadow spokesperson for Environmental Services, is urging residents to take part in the consultation. He warned the closure could cause knock on effects at the Milner’s Road site, in Yeadon - with increased demand for booking slots as well as the potential for queues and delays at the site. He said there were operational reasons why the Milner’s Road site could not be expanded to cater for the extra demand, and he argued for a purpose built site.

Cllr Wadsworth said Guiseley and Rawdon could be impacted by the closure.

"I am urging residents to take part in the consultation because it is not only those living close by that will be affected," he stressed.

"I fear that the extra demand created from the closure of Ellar Ghyll will force more

residents through Guiseley and Rawdon to use the Household Waste Recycling Centre, meaning delays at the site, but also lengthy waits when trying to book a slot to use the HWRC. Milner’s Road is not suitable for expansion, there are restrictions on operating hours at the site as well as on noise levels and vehicle movements.

"A purpose-built site in the Outer North West of the city merits serious investigation.This could be specifically designed to maximise ease of use to reduce queues and therefore pollution. It could also have a ‘Reuse’ shop on-site, like some of the other HWRCs to recycle salvageable items.”

To take part in the consultation visit www.leeds.gov.uk/ellarghyllconsultation before midnight on Monday, January 25.