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England on course to meet EU landfill target

England is on target to meet its first European Union target to cut the amount of waste it sends to landfill, according to a new report. The Landfill Allowances and Trading Scheme (LATS) 2006-07 report by the Environment Agency has highlighted how 121 waste disposal and unitary authorities in England have landfilled within their allowance and have avoided fines. Environment Agency chief executive Barbara Young said: England was 20% under its 2006-07 allowance and is around 350,000 tonnes away from meeting its first EU target for 2010. This continues the downward trend in the amount of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) we are sending to landfill and this is thanks to a lot of hard work by local authority staff. Under LATS each waste disposal authority (WDA) has been allocated annual allowances on how much waste they can dispose of in landfill sites based on the amount of waste they handled in 2001-02. Each allowance represents one tonne of biodegradable municipal waste that can be sent to landfill. WDAs then have the choice of meeting their allocation of allowances using the flexible options of the scheme. They can divert waste from landfill, by recycling, re-use or composting, by using their allowances, by borrowing from their future allocations, buying allowances from other authorities or any combination of these. Under the EU Landfill Directive, the UK must reduce the amount of waste it sends to landfill to 75% of that produced in 1995 by 2010, then to 50% by 2013 and 35% by 2020. LATS was set up to ensure England is ready to meet its share of the targets. Englands total allowance allocation for 2006-07 was set at 14.5 million tonnes. The actual amount of BWM sent to landfill in 2006-07 was 11.55 million tonnes a cut of 800,000 tonnes of the amount sent to landfill in 2005-06. Environment Minister Joan Ruddock said: This is the second year of the scheme and I am pleased to see that local authorities have taken their responsibilities seriously and are on track to meet the 2010 target. However, there is no room for complacency and I will continue to work with local authorities to deliver further improvements.

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