CITY leaders have launched a fresh campaign to get millions of pounds returned from London to York.

Ruling councillors want an overhaul of the Landfill Tax system, which sees local authorities pay money to the Government according to how much rubbish they send to landfill.

They hope to use the new Sustainable Communities Act to force a rethink of the policy, and to have control of their own money.

New figures obtained by The Press show York taxpayers contributed £1,930,556 to the national pot last year, but the council got only £360,000 back in grants to promote green policies.

Coun Ann Reid, neighbourhood services boss at City of York Council, said council tax could be lower and recycling policies extended if it weren’t for the “unfair” policy.

“York residents have shown that they are willing and able to meet more and more onerous Government targets, but year on year we are getting little support to reach those targets,” she said.

“The Government is doing little in the way of supporting recycling as we can not do it alone.”

Last year, the council unanimously passed a motion voicing concerns over the tax, amid claims money was being “sucked out of the city”. The annual increase in Landfill Tax was £3 a year, but has now risen to £8 a year, meaning councils paid £32 a ton in 2008/9, but will pay £40 a ton this year.

The ruling Liberal Democrats now hope to force a change through the Sustainable Communities Act, which has been set up to give local councils new powers. The retention of landfill tax is one of seven ideas York has submitted to the Local Government Association.

Since 1996, York has paid £15.5 million in Landfill Tax and got £2.6 million back in grants.

Coun Reid said: “If we had the £13 million difference between what we sent in tax and what we received back in grants we could have rolled out recycling across the city a lot earlier and we might also have been able to keep council tax lower.”

She said the council could have funded kerbside recycling earlier; more work to minimise waste and re-use goods; possible food waste collections; enhanced links with community groups; a new recycling site to replace Beckfield Lane and better home composting systems.