English local authorities are on track to meet their Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme allocations for 2010, according to a new report.
The study by the Environment Agency called Report on the Landfill Allowances and Trading Scheme 2008/09 shows how much biodegradable municipal waste each waste disposal authority and unitary authority landfilled in 2008-09.
Under LATS, authorities meet allowance allocations, which are allocated by the Government, by diverting waste from landfill and trading allowances in order to meet European Union Landfill Directive targets.
The study highlights that in 2008-09, England landfilled 9,326,167 tonnes, which is almost 1.9m tonnes below the 2009-10 target, and almost 1,866,167 tonnes above the target for 2012-13.
Next year is the first LATS target year for England under the Landfill Directive and 2013 will be the second target year.
Waste management consultancy AEA Technology practice manager Adam Read said the results were not a surprise and expected. He said: My main message will be well done but we knew we could reach this target. Now, big decisions need to be made and we need to make sure that we are ready to get the waste infrastructure built in the next three to four years to meet the 2013 target but I am not so sure we will get there.
A Local Government Association spokesman agreed with Read and added that credit should be given to councils and residents that helped meet the LATS target. But he urged the Government to give authorities more funding to help them to invest in waste infrastrucuture in order to meet the 2013 targets.
The report acknowledges that the 2013 landfill targets will be challenging but achievable. It states: It is important that local authorities continue the good progress they have made in diverting waste from landfill and bring forward plans to build the new waste facilities that are needed to make this happen.
Read said that the 2013 targets will not be deliverable by just relying on kerbside. He said that there were already delays in major infrastructure projects, such as in Oxfordshire, Cornwall and Norfolk. He said if infrastructure or planning problems were not tackled in the next few years, the UK could be behind its target by more than a million tonnes and as a consequence the UK could face hefty fines.
The report also shows that councils made use of the flexibilities of LATS, with 13 authorities either borrowing or buying allowances to meet their obligations. It also highlights regional disparities and showed that the north west region, was the largest waste producing region, and landfilled some 1.6m tonnes out of an allowance of nearly 1.9m tonnes. In contrast, the smallest waste producing region was the north east, with 538,937 tonnes out of an allowance of 682,736 tonnes.
Other key findings:
- South west is the only region exceeding its 2009-10 target (1,096,744m tonnes)). It landfilled 1,104,014 m tonnes in 2008-09;
- The west Midlands region landfilled less waste than their 2012-13 target (770,284 m tonnes) in 2008-09 (618,576).