I asked the following question at January’s Full Council meeting:

“Would the Executive Member with responsibility for the development of a food waste collection in the city advise me who he holds responsible for the Council not being successful in securing the necessary funding from the Government fund, particularly in the light of the councils that were successful in securing the funding?”

The answer I received was that the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), which I dispute.

The DCLG had asked councils to bid for a share of £250 million to fund the introduction of weekly residual collections.  Leeds were seeking £17.6m, to fund the introduction of a weekly food waste collection.  

Having studied the list of successful bidders, of which there were 85, it is clear that many councils have received funding based on the fact that they have cleverly worded their bids to show some provision of a weekly residual waste collection, one successful bid supporting just 2,000 properties with a weekly collection.

The Council has always made clear it aims to deliver fortnightly residual waste collections to 80% of households, leaving 20% still requiring weekly collections.  Given our failure to secure any funding, I question whether we promoted the former too much, and the latter too little. 

One thing seems clear, a lack of attention to detail by the ruling administration may have cost us dear.  The least the Executive Member for the Environment could do is review the fund submission, and learn from it.  Blaming the DCLG for our lack of success is totally unacceptable.