Huddersfield council ‘losing its way’ over recycling

A YORKSHIRE council with a reputation as a ‘green’ authority is losing its way when it comes to recycling, it is claimed.

In 2010-11 Kirklees sent 33 per cent of household waste for recycling/reuse/composting, almost identical to the Leeds figure and better than Bradford which was 29 per cent.

Calderdale was in top spot among the five West Yorkshire authorities with just over 41 per cent and Wakefield was second with 40 per cent.

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But the most recent figures show that Kirklees now recycles the least household rubbish in West Yorkshire.

Figures for 2011-12 show that Kirklees recycled 34 per cent, a rise of around one per cent.

Leeds was up to 37 per cent, a rise of over three per cent and Bradford’s rose by over nine per cent to 39 per cent.

Calderdale’s recycling rate was 44 per cent, up more than two per cent and Wakefield dropped half a per cent to just under 40 per cent.

Liberal Democrats on Kirklees Council say that more needs to be done to improve recycling and they have criticised the Labour-run authority for a decision to end kerbside glass collections from this spring, which will save £750,000 a year.

Kirklees Liberal Democrats leader Councillor Kath Pinnock said: “The green credentials of the council were hard won over the past 15 years but the figures show that Labour has failed to move us forward so, in affect, we have now fallen behind.

“This is not surprising as Labour have failed to push any new policies to improve recycling rates while they have run the council.

“With kerbside glass collections coming to end in spring Labour must act or in 12 months time the council will have fallen further behind the performance of neighbouring authorities.”

She added: “At this week’s council meeting we are demanding that Labour publish a new recycling strategy with targets in order to halt this race to the bottom.”

But Coun Pinnock’s criticisms were dismissed last night as being “mealy mouthed” by Green councillor Andrew Cooper who said recycling and other services were suffering in the face of massive cuts to local councils by the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition.

“It’s all very well for the Lib Dems to say we are cutting recycling and things are really bad. One of the reasons for cuts being imposed is because of the Conservative-Lib Dem government.

“The reason we are having to cut back on glass collections is to pay for social care for the elderly and disabled.

“Even as a Green, care for the elderly and disabled is not something that can be sacrificed for recycling.

“The Coalition has placed councils in a difficult position. These comments (by Coun Pinnock) are mealy mouthed.”

Coun Cooper said there were real concerns about recycling in Kirklees, not least plans by a council contractor to carry recyclable material from Huddersfield to Billingham in County Durham, which is 90 miles away.

He said the recycling figures did not reflect the fact that a lot of Kirklees waste was incinerated in Huddersfield and created energy from the burning process.