A CAMPAIGN against plans to charge for York’s garden waste collections has been launched amid claims that figures show a city tip should not have been closed.

City of York Council has begun a public consultation over potential measures to cut £580,000 from its waste bills over the next two years.

It could see fees for collecting green bins introduced year-round or over winter, while the Towthorpe waste recycling centre could see its opening hours reduced.

Other options put forward by the Labour-run authority could also include charging for additional bins or stopping winter collections.

The council’s Liberal Democrat group has now set up a petition on its website opposing the possible changes, branding them a “green bin tax”.

They said lessons should be learned from Newcastle, where thousands of residents returned bins after fees were introduced.

Coun Ann Reid, the Liberal Democrats’ environmental services spokeswoman, said: “Charging for green bins will further increase landfill taxes and fly-tipping, while recycling rates will fall, and Labour have made no budget provision for this. It is effectively an extra tax on residents who want to do the right thing and recycle.”

Meanwhile, Reuban Mayne, who campaigned to keep Beckfield Lane tip open before it was closed by the council last year, claimed the authority’s figures show only 28 per cent of waste previously dealt with there had been transferred elsewhere.

The statistics showed 1,948 tonnes of waste was handled at Beckfield Lane between May and December 2011, but during the same period last year, levels at Hazel Court rose by only 463 tonnes and Towthorpe tip saw a 79-tonne increase.

Mr Mayne said: “We predicted waste would not be transferred to Hazel Court and this information confirms it was a short-sighted measure, and I am personally getting more reports of fly-tipping than ever before.”

Coun David Levene, cabinet member for environmental services said: “The overall level of waste generated has decreased, which is part of the explanation for waste not transferring to Hazel Court, and it would seem residents are finding alternative ways of disposing of or recycling their waste.

“Officers have reported no apparent increase in reports of fly-tipping. If there is evidence of it, the council will always respond quickly where it is reported.”