SITA’s chief executive David Palmer-Jones and Gowing & Pursey director Jack Biel consider the pros and cons of the landfill tax changes
For: SITA UK chief executive David Palmer-Jones
This has been a grey area, which I know some companies have exploited to great commercial effect, but at the expense of the public purse and completely at odds with the spirit of the landfill tax regime.
Landfill tax is to help create a true circular economy and not, inadvertently or otherwise, to enable cheap landfilling.
Contrary to comments I have read, I fail to see how this positive step will lead to any significant increase in the cost of recycling or recovery.
In circumstances where there might be an increase, this will be far outweighed by the benefits, both environmentally and financially, to the overall economy.
This clarification of the rules will mean that all companies, waste management and construction, now compete on a level playing field. What is important is that products are genuinely recycled and extracted from the waste stream.
Against: Gowing & Pursey director Jack Biel
The industry had expected clarification from HMRC but the scope of the brief goes far beyond what might reasonably have been anticipated.
Disappointingly, no prior consultation has taken place.
Operators of waste transfer stations, waste carriers and recycling companies will all be severely damaged by this.
Landfill operators nationally have charged their customers at the lower rate of tax for inert fines.
As a result, companies who produce this residual material have entered into price agreements with their own customers - mainly construction and commercial & industrial businesses - which cannot possibly be varied to take account of such a price increase overnight.
The fact that such an increase has been effectively imposed, without notice, on waste transfer and recycling companies means that those companies could face financial ruin as their own customers will simply not pay such an increase at such impossibly short notice.