Changes to landfill tax rules which have caused the cost of disposing of certain materials to rocket overnight have sent waves through the waste industry.
On 18 May, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs issued a briefing document to announce that fines from trommels and screens which had previously been charged the lower inert material tax rate of £2.50 will now be charged the full rate of £64 a tonne for active material.
Additionally, waste or material used to cover waste in landfill areas before they are capped will also be taxed at the full rate. This had been previously been regarded as “engineering material”.
One operations manager at a company dealing with a northern MRF called the move “the biggest pricing change since the landfill tax was introduced in 1995”.
He told MRW: “I have heard that some construction waste companies have shut the doors and that some are now looking at increasing their rates by 100% and 150% - this has far-reaching impact not only on the waste industry but industry throughout the UK.”
However, David Palmer-Jones, chief executive at SITA UK, left, said: “This has been a grey area, which I know some companies have exploited to great commercial effect, but at the expense of the public purse and completely at odds with the spirit of the landfill tax regime.
“Landfill tax is to help create a true circular economy and not, inadvertently or otherwise, to enable cheap landfilling.
“Contrary to comments I have read, I fail to see how this positive step will lead to any significant increase in the cost of recycling or recovery. In circumstances where there might be an increase, this will be far outweighed by the benefits, both environmentally and financially, to the overall economy.
“Overall this clarification of the rules will mean that all companies, waste management and construction, now compete on a level playing field. What is important is that products are genuinely recycled and extracted from the waste stream.”