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Call for "full" consultation on Ireland's landfill levy

A full consultation on Irelands landfill and incineration levies should be launched, according to a waste industry expert.

Under new proposals launched by Minister for Environment John Gormley (20 November), landfill tax will increase to €30 per tonne by 2010, €50 per tonne by 2011 and €75 per tonne by 2012. Gormley also plans to introduce a levy on mechanical biological treatment.

Irish-based waste firm Greenstar head of strategic planning Margaret Heavey told MRW she was worried about the speed at which the levy will be reached. She added: I think that the
Government should open up to full consultation with the waste industry to understand the basis of these numbers. There is a strong case, given the economic climate at the moment and the pressure our customers are under, to lengthen the time frame in which the waste incineration levy is introduced. And given the need to develop biological waste infrastructure there is a value in not taxing MBT at this time until the infrastructure is in place. If there is a tax on MBT it needs to reflect the needs of climate change and needs to maximise recycling as a priority measure.

We have had large floods in some areas and a lot of areas are under water which means that climate change should be high on the agenda.

Heavey said introducing a high landfill tax will be counterproductive to competiveness and that a tax needs to be introduced with other incentives such as an environmental fund to develop new infrastructure where the private sector can have access to it as well as the public sector.

She said that the landfill tax was applied to a much higher base to start with because she said gate fees in Ireland were high and on average around €65 (£71) to €75 (£82) compared to €24 (£22) in the UK.

In contrast, Greyhound Recycling and Recovery stated that the landfill levy did not go far enough and should be increased by €40 by 2010.

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