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Higher landfill tax called for by Environment Industries Commission

An immediate increase in landfill tax to £35/tonne or more and stronger enforcement capabilities were two of the suggestions made by the Environment Industries Commission (EIC) in its response to the Government’s waste strategy review.

As a voice for the UK’s environmental technology and services industry, the EIC response was compiled by its waste resources management working group, representing over 80 companies involved with waste management.

It welcomed the review’s focus on waste prevention but said that a faster rate of increase in Landfill Tax would be a more powerful driver for waste reduction and the development of technologies to divert waste from landfill. It said its members were not seeing significant changes in the use of landfill for the much larger volumes of commercial and industrial waste as the cost of alternative treatment remained greater than the cost of landfill plus tax. It estimated that the overall cost of landfill plus tax would need to be at least £60-£70/tonne before investment could realistically be made in alternative technologies.

The EIC also suggested the Government provide a single web-based guide on resource efficiency, as the current BREW programme caused confusion by requiring businesses to approach different advice providers. And said sectoral targets for resource efficiency should be introduced.

It called on the Government to address the barriers to sustainable waste management by pressing Europe for rapid progress on the Waste Framework directive and closely monitoring the ability of the planning system to deliver new facilities. As well as further strengthening the enforcement capability of the Environment Agency to prevent the industry being undermined by illegal activity and discouraging investors, and developing and implementing minimum performance standards in recycling.

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