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Brown's Budget recycling blow

Unless they prefer cider to beer, recyclers will have found little to cheer about in this year's Budget.

Chancellor Gordon Brown made no changes to Landfill Tax or the Aggregates Levy in his annual speech, and barely mentioned the environment.

Recycling firms and local authorities had hoped for something to make up for last year's heavily criticised Budget.

But Brown again froze the Aggregates Levy and refused to budge on Landfill Tax, which is due to rise by £3 per tonne on April 1 under measures announced in 1999.

Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee chairman Lee Marshall had predicted the lack of incentive for recycling.

He told MRW this week: "I have a feeling that with an election looming, there may be
areas more popular than waste that are focused on."

But like many in the recycling sector, Marshall had dared to hope for something more imaginative from the Government.

"One possible innovation would be for a local authority to hold back a proportion of the Landfill Tax on household waste to be used in recycling and diversion work," he said.

Environmental Services Association chief executive Dirk Hazell had also called for support from the Budget.

"From our point of view, the Budget needs to be part of a clear roadmap leading to the UK's compliance with the 2010 targets to divert biodegradable municipal waste from landfill," he said.

Duty on cider was frozen, while tax on beer increased by 1p per pint.

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