The council’s bid for £13.9 million to Department of Communities and Local Government’s (DCLG) Weekly Collection Support Fund was turned down last week.
The council had planned to use the funds to pick up kitchen scraps from 254,000 Leeds homes once a week. This would complement the planned move to fortnightly green and black bin collections to increase recycling, save money and cut carbon emissions.
Councillor Mark Dobson, executive member for the environment, said:
“We’re very disappointed by DCLG’s decision as weekly food waste collections are a key part of our plans to enable us to recycle more of our waste in the future.
“Councils that were awarded money will have some form of weekly collection service retained or introduced. Our bid would have seen the introduction of a new weekly food waste collection city-wide, so we’re seeking detailed feedback from DCLG to understand why we were unsuccessful.
“In an ideal world we would be introducing weekly food waste collections in tandem with alternate weekly green and black bin collections and be able to use the food we collect to make bio-fuel for our new fleet of gas powered bin wagons.
“Despite this blow, city-wide weekly food waste collections remains part of our long-term strategy and we’re still committed to launching this service.”
The DCLG funding was to be invested in the kit and staff needed to deliver the service until 2014/15. Money saved beyond 2014/15 by moving to fortnightly black and green bin collections, and from sending waste to the proposed incinerator instead of landfill, was to be re-invested and allow food waste collection services to continue after this time.
The council will now need to review the timetable for the introduction of weekly food waste collections. This will be determined by the availability of funding and resources.
The planned move to fortnightly pick ups of green and black bins is going ahead as planned.
40,000 homes in Kippax and Methley, Garforth and Swillington, Morley North, Morley South and Ardsley and Robin Hood wards will be some of the first to move to the alternate weekly bin collection system next spring.
Residents in these areas will be contacted in the new year about the changes.
Information about bins, recycling and clean streets can be found at www.leeds.gov.uk
For media enquiries only please contact:
Amanda Burns, Leeds City Council press office (0113) 395 1577