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Landfill Tax restrictions could be scrapped

Government restrictions on annual Landfill Tax increases could be scrapped by Easter next year.

Currently, the tax stands at £21/tonne for mixed waste after rising by £3 in the 2006 budget.

While the chancellor stated that the tax would rise by around £3/tonne each year and set a ceiling of £35/tonne, shrinking landfill resources could see it go even higher.

Speaking at a Construction Industry Research and Information Association waste management conference Chartered Institution of Wastes Management chief executive Steve Lee said: I dont know if the £35/tonne ceiling will stay as the Government is starting to model itself on the real world implications. What I do know is that it will be one of the most important decisions of the Governments waste strategy.

With landfill sites set to close at a rate of two a week for the foreseeable future, a serious logistic problem will be created, with companies and householders faced with the possibility of not having a site within 20 or 40 miles.

Hazardous waste has already seen its number of destinations reduce from 250 UK sites to a bare dozen, with Lee telling the industry to expect a big announcement before next Easters budget.

He added: Were on a journey, breaking a very long landfill habit. And boy what a problem, it is starting to set us apart from the rest of Europe and the world. For 50 or 60 years we have looked to pick it up cheap, carry it cheap and bury it cheap.

But we need a strategy to put the waste back to work. If the world wants to live like North West Europeans, well need three planets to cope with all the waste, while for North Americans it is five or six.

With increased public opposition also making expansion of existing landfills difficult, the network of facilities to take waste is shrinking rapidly.

It has been suggested that half a dozen sites are needed to replace one landfill for operations such as sorting, bulking, transfer and partial treatment. While this brings business pressures on how companies deal with waste, Lee suggests it also presents business opportunities.

But what he is clear about is that a decision will come soon and one that will seriously impact on how companies operate their business.

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