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York faced with missing recycling targets as rubbish costs rise
YORK faces missing waste recycling targets and an extra £372,000 bill for getting rid of its rubbish.
Household recycling rates in the city and the amount of landfill tax City of York Council must pay for 2012/13 is expected to reach £2.97 million, 12.5 per cent more than the previous year.
York has also slipped down regional and national averages for dealing with household waste, and city leaders have been accused of steering recycling into “decline” by closing Beckfield Lane tip last year. The Labour-controlled council’s Liberal Democrat group said the situation will worsen if proposals to charge for garden waste collections and cut opening times at Towthorpe recycling centre go ahead.
A report which will go before the council’s community safety overview and scrutiny committee tomorrow said household recycling targets “look unlikely” to be hit. Levels are currently at 46 per cent, a slight year-on-year drop and short of a 47.6 per cent 2012/13 target.
Lib Dem councillor and committee member Keith Orrell said York’s waste performance was “very disturbing”, saying: “Under the Lib Dems, the recycling rate increased from 12 per cent to 45 per cent, mainly by making it easier for residents to recycle and constantly saying how important it is.
“Labour has reversed this by closing Beckfield Lane and is now threatening to charge for green bins and reduce Towthorpe recycling centre’s hours. It’s no surprise if residents now believe the council does not think recycling is important.
“If Labour don’t change their strategy, recycling rates will continue to stagnate and landfill taxes increase. Urgent action is needed to reverse this decline, and Labour should rule out charging for green bins, while more long-term work needs to be done on promotion and ensuring recycling is easier.”
Coun David Levene, cabinet member for environmental services, said York was one of the UK’s best waste and recycling performers and in the top quarter among councils. He said: “Latest figures show the council is working well towards achieving a 50 per cent target rate of recycling and is already recycling 46.28% of all household recyclable materials.
“Despite all authorities struggling with recycling rates because of the recession, ours are holding up well. We are targeting specific areas to gain that last three per cent needed to hit our target.”
He said no decision had been taken on proposed changes to waste services, but Government funding cuts meant “no easy decisions”.