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Comment: Funding targeted towards businesses

Another amount of money has been announced this week, directed towards businesses and helping to fight waste crime.

The funding, coming from the additional Landfill Tax revenue, which increases by £3 a tonne from today. Over three years the Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW) programme will be allocating £284 million, split £43m in 2005/06 and rising to £95m in 2006/07 and £146m in 2007/08. In the first year money is being distributed to established business support organisations and programmes, such as the Waste and Resources Action Programme, as well as research related to resource efficiency.

The BREW programme is aimed at providing support to businesses in England and the range of the support available means that firms of different sizes should be able to get value from it. None of the funded programmes are new start-ups but an expansion of successful, proven programmes designed to meet the needs of business in managing their waste. The Treasury is also consulting with business representatives on the introducing enhanced capital allowances for waste technologies.

There have long been arguments on looking at the waste generated from commercial businesses. Despite the heavy concentration on municipal waste this only accounts for 7.5% of the overall waste produced in England and Wales, compared with 20% of waste produced from commercial organisations. Tackling this waste and raising awareness of recycling and waste reduction methods can only help.

Research shows that companies can save between 1-4% of their turnover by adopting recycling initiatives and the focus can help raise awareness among staff.

There are plans for further developments, with consultations continuing among business representatives. Regional Development Agencies will also be receiving money to help deliver the programme at a regional level.

Money from the additional Landfill Tax revenue is also being used to help fight the war on crime.

In last week's issue we highlighted a number of problems that have resulted in an increase in fly-tipping. But there was also concern that despite a rise in successfully prosecuted cases, the fines are often considerably lower that the cost of disposing waste in a legal manner.

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs committee recently recommended directing some of the money from the Landfill Tax towards providing extra resource to the Environment Agency and it will now receive £2m for this. The money will be used for a variety of enforcement issues, including campaigns for zero-tolerance periods and trying to raise awareness among the judiciary. This is essential to ensure there is a real deterrence to career criminals.

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