CALLS are being made for the removal of charges at household waste recycling centres in order to reduce fly-tipping in Leeds.

The Conservative group on Leeds City Council has today put forward its proposals for

the 2021/22 city budget, with a key focus on reducing fly-tipping through the removal of charges.

According to the group's proposals the charges for disposal of bulky and inert waste, first introduced in 2018/19, would be scrapped following an investment of almost half a million pounds from the Council

Innovation ear-marked reserve fund.

Guiseley and Rawdon Councillor Paul Wadsworth, who is the Shadow Spokesman for Environmental Services, believes that since the introduction of the charges, there has been an increase in fly-tipping incidents which could be avoided if residents could dispose of their waste without fear of being charged when going to the tip. He said the administration’s proposal to increase the fees for bulky waste collection from £20 to £30 would only make the problem worse.

Cllr Wadsworth said:“In spite of continued assurances to the contrary, data shows that fly-tipping in Leeds has got worse during the Covid lockdowns. It is obvious to me that part of this problem is the imposition of charges for bulky and inert waste disposal.

"This budget amendment seeks to remove these charges, in order to make it easier for Leeds residents to dispose of their waste in an environmentally-friendly manner at a council-run Household Waste Recycling Centre for free. Household finances have been squeezed too during Covid and this is one way of easing some of those pressures while encouraging Leeds households to do the right thing.”

The Council budget for 2021/22 was debated at Full Council meeting on yesterday. The main opposition has submitted 20 amendments to the administration’s budget proposals.

At the council meeting nearly £90m of cuts, 800 job losses and a five per cent rise in council tax were voted through as part of Leeds City Council’s budget for the coming year.

The changes were announced by the authority’s new leader Cllr James Lewis (Lab), who said the increases in demand for services and loss of revenue caused by Covid-19 meant the city was facing its “biggest crisis in 75 years”.

However, opposition leader Cllr Andrew Carter (Con) claimed the authority’s financial problems were “self-inflicted wounds” and warned further financial hardship would be caused by the council’s “profligate” borrowing policies.