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Budget 2015: Landfill Tax and waste crime announcements

Chancellor George Osborne has announced landfill tax for 2016 will only rise in line with RPI, and has granted the Environment Agency (EA) an extra £4.2m to tackle waste crime.

George Osborne

His last budget before the general election said: “The standard and lower rates of Landfill Tax will increase in line with RPI, rounded to the nearest 5 pence, from April 2016. Additionally, the loss on ignition testing regime announced at Autumn Statement 2014 will be introduced from 1 April 2015.”

It also outlined plans to change the cap on landfill operators’ contributions to the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) to 5.7%.

The LCF will be set at £59.4m, which the Government said “reflects devolution of landfill tax to Scotland from 1 April 2015 and the ongoing high levels of unspent LCF funds”.

LCF savings will be used to fund a one-off £4.2m increase for the EA to “address waste crime”.

As previously announced, the Government is consulting on a package of measures to reform the LCF.

Budget documents stated: “The package will accelerate the spending of funds on community projects, reduce administrative costs and simplify administrative processes.”

The Environmental Services Assocation welcomed the expected announcement on loss on ignition (LoI) testing and money for waste crime. Head of regulation Sam Corp said:

“ESA and its members have been working closely with HMRC and Treasury officials over the last two years to develop the testing regime. An objective LoI test will go a long way to prevent the misclassification of waste which has been so costly to responsible operators and to the UK’s economy.

“We hope that the chancellor’s announcement will give operators the assurance they need to put in place the necessary measures to implement the regime from 1 April.

“Tackling waste crime requires ongoing resourcing and whilst the additional funding is very helpful we would also welcome a long term commitment to fund this important work.  

“It is vital that regulators use this additional funding effectively to crack down on waste crime which blights local communities, causes environmental and public health problems, as well as draining the UK economy of nearly £600m each year in clean up costs and lost tax revenues.”

For energy-intensive industries, the Budget announced that feed-in tariffs (FITs) used to compensate costs would be brought forward “to the earliest point at which state aid approval is received in 2015-16”.

The Budget said: “This is expected to save energy intensive industries a further £25m in 2015-16.”

In response, UK Steel director Gareth Stace said: “While today’s announcement on the early introduction of some compensation from energy costs for sectors like steel is a welcome statement of intent, we are disappointed the Chancellor did not go further.

“This deal will still leave energy intensive industries paying 80% of the costs of the renewables support until April 2016.”

Other measures in the 2015 Budget:

  • apprentice rate will increase by 57p an hour to £3.30, halving the gap to the 16-17 rate
  • introduction of an Apprenticeship Voucher, to be developed and tested with employers and providers immediately and fully implemented from 2017
  • review the speed with which HGV driving tests and driver medical assessments currently take place and consider options to accelerate both in order to help address the shortage of qualified HGV drivers.
  • Fuel duty frozen

 

Readers' comments (1)

  • Dan Cooke, Director of External Affairs, Viridor, said:

    “Europe has thrown away old thinking about waste and is recognising its value as a resource. With the general election fast approaching, today’s budget offers only limited recognition of the opportunities a modern resource sector can bring.

    “Britain urgently needs to resource the fight against rising waste crime which threatens the sector’s development and our economic and environmental interests. Today’s announcement of a one-off increase in Environment Agency funding to crack down on waste criminals is therefore welcome indeed. But waste crime isn’t a one-off quick win and needs sustained support and resourcing.

    “With the sector at a point of inflexion, the budget was a missed opportunity to support the next wave of infrastructure investment needed to create 50,000 new jobs, deliver resources for UK manufacturing, enhance UK resource and energy security and skill a new generation of engineers and scientists.”

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