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Landfill tax receipts fall for first time in 2009/10

Receipts from landfill tax in the 2009/10 financial year have fallen for the first time since 1998, according to the latest figures.

HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) landfill tax bulletin for December 2010 reveals that although tonnages sent to landfill have been gradually falling since 2000/01, actual receipts from escalating landfill tax have only begun to fall in the last financial year: reducing from £954m in 2008/09 to £842m in 2009/10.

But calendar year figures indicate that the reduction in landfill tax first fell in the year before, when receipts dropped from £923m in 2008 to £833m in 2009. It has subsequently increased to £1.05bn in 2010, according to provisional figures.

Waste consultancy AEA global practice director for waste management Dr Adam Read told MRW: “The lack of a fall in previous years may have less to do with tonnage [sent to landfill], which has generally been declining and more to do with increasing taxation levels.” 

Read added that the figures “almost certainly” indicated a tipping point on the Landfill Tax escalator, beyond which it will no longer be profitable to send waste to landfill.

He added: “In my opinion Landfill Tax is now a real concern for business and local authorities and strategies, procurements and activities to avoid it are now reaping benefits, hence the downturn. However, some of the downturn must be seen in context of the economic recession and reductions in waste arisings across commercial and municipal streams.”

Landfill tax will increase to £56/tonne from 1 April 2011.

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