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Higher recycling rate and new landfill taxes proposed by Lib Dems

The Liberal Democrats have proposed a 70% recycling target in England and a new landfill tax structure among policy initiatives if they return to power after the general election.

In addition to these, the party’s Zero Waste Bill would introduce a number of changes to waste regulation:

  • tripling the maximum fine for industrial fly-tippers to £9m
  • increasing the number of fly-tipping prosecutions
  • encouraging businesses to design packaging that can be recycled easily
  • commissioning a review from the Natural Capital Committee (NCC) on revenue generation from UK waste

The NCC is an independent advisory body, set up in 2012, to provide advice on the UK’s natural assets such as forests and minerals.

The proposed bill is part of the Lib Dems’ ‘five green laws’ agenda for eco-friendly reforms to lower the UK’s carbon output, boosting heating and energy efficiency for households as well as environmental protection.

It claimed that up to £500m is lost in annual tax revenue from activities such as illegal waste sites, fly-tipping and landfill tax evasion. Currently, there are fewer than 200 successful fly-tipping prosecutions a year, with average fines amounting to £7,000.

Party Leader Nick Clegg said: “Our Zero Waste Bill not only ensures a fairer society by giving companies who use illegal dumping to shirk their tax responsibilities their comeuppance, but also creates a stronger economy, turning waste on its head to make it a beneficial resource for the country.”

On a visit to a waste site, resource minister Dan Rogerson added: “We will make Britain’s waste pay – trebling fines for industrial scale fly-tipping and establishing a ‘Stern Report’ to end the practice of needlessly sending waste to landfill.”

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