Leeds City Council has been forced to set aside an extra £5m to deal with the increase in household waste requiring collection and disposal during the pandemic.

The logistical challenges posed by the pandemic and the significant increase in the volume of household waste has put a lot of pressure on the council’s waste management services.

The council anticipates an additional £2.23m will be needed simply to pay for the processing and disposal of additional waste over the coming financial year, mainly at the Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility (RERF).

A further £1.03m is required for the hire and running costs of providing the additional wagons needed to collect the extra waste and to ensure there are enough spare vehicles to cope with COVID vehicle cleaning requirements.

Around £1.8m is required for the cost of providing additional refuse staff and cover to deal with the increased volume of waste, and to ensure that the service can continue to cover staff who are required to isolate.

‘The increased anticipated costs are necessary as we continue to adapt to face the ongoing challenges faced by COVID-19,’ said Cllr Mohammed Rafique, Leeds City Council’s executive member for environment and housing.

‘When the service had its initial budget set for the year, it didn’t include any additional COVID-related costs, and so it was crucial that we gave the service the financial support needed to ensure that they could keep working throughout the pandemic.

‘For the next financial year, we will be looking to include the anticipated cost of managing and disposing of the extra waste being produced by homes across Leeds in the initial budget, rather than something we report as an overspend during the year.’

Image: Gary L Hider / Shutterstock.com.