Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of MRW, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Controversial landfill tax changes

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.”

David Palmer-Jones SITA

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.”

Readers' comments (3)

  • As Sita says, this does level the playing field and will be a good thing for the waste and recycling industry in the long run. However it will have some immediate detrimental impacts, even assuming that implementation is strict and immediate. Most loads of waste include 30% to 40% fines. If the additional cost of disposal of fines (£61.50/tonne) is to be recovered there will be a minimum 30% increase in waste disposal charges. Also, recycling rates which included fines will have to be restated and reduced. Some companies have been taking advantage of the lower landfill tax rates for this material. Now that rate is no longer available, there will be an immediate impact on prices.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The waste industry will never have a level playing field until the environmental impact of incineration is reflected the same way as landfill.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • There will never be a level playing field until the true cost of recycling and disposal is accepted by waste producers.
    The application of the higher rate tax to soil based fines from transfer stations demonstrates the failings of the poorly drafted Landfill Tax (Qualifying Material) Order 2011. We need joined up thinking between the EA, HMRC and Defra or recycling rates are going to plummet.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.