The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has warned that the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) is under threat from an unheralded change announced by the Chancellor in his recent spending review.
George Osborne’s statement to MPs on 25 November was accompanied by the Government’s response to theconsultation earlier in the year on the LCF.
The ESA is alarmed that the response, not covered in the consultation, includes the removal of the arrangement whereby third parties contribute the 10% shortfall in landfill tax payments to community projects. From 1 April, operators themselves will have to pay the difference.
The ESA says the change will cost the industry around £4m annually and is warning that operators could be prompted to leave the voluntary LCF.
ESA executive director Jacob Hayler said: “The proposed change is likely to jeopardise the future of the scheme, removing a vital funding source for local projects and leading to job losses at the environmental bodies overseeing them.
“A mere four months’ notice provides landfill operators with little time to budget, particularly when their planning timescales tend to be around five years in advance, and when some individual operators are facing unforeseen annual costs of over £500,000”.
Hayler pointed out that the fund had supported more than 50,000 community and environmental projects, with funds totalling £1.2bn.