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Not much for recycling sector from Darling

Chancellor Alistair Darling gave little support for the recycling and waste sector in his pre-Budget report. Among the changes were an extension to 2037 for the Renewable Obligation (RO) scheme and revenue from land remediation landfill tax will be used to extend land remediation relief.

In his Pre-Budget report, where a Keynsian spending programme had been signalled before the speech, most of the extra Government spending was on schools, hospitals, transport, energy efficiency measures and a temporary cut in VAT from 17.5% to 15% until the end of 2009.

However, in a move that will impact on businesses in the recycling sector, he announced an increase of 0.5% in National Insurance contributions for firms from April 2011.

But the Chancellor's announcement of an extension of a further 10 years for the RO scheme should lead to a more secure investment environment for renewable technologies such as anaerobic digestion, which receives two renewable obligation certificates for each megawatt hour of renewable energy it produces.

The Pre-Budget report also announced a change to Landfill Tax. It confirmed the escalator of Landfill Tax of £8 per tonne until 2010-11 and an expectation that the Government will at least continue to increase the tax by the same amount following that date. However, the Chancellor announced in the Full Report, that revenue from removing the Landfill Tax exemption on contaminated land would be used to extend land remediation relief. The exemption on Landfill Tax for waste arising from the clearance of contaminated land will be phased out by 2012. 

The Full Report document also signaled the launch of a new Packaging Strategy in early 2009 and welcomed the voluntary progress made by retailers to reduce the use of carrier bags. 

It also announced the launch of a Carbon Budget in 2009 that would assess the impact of the economy and overall fiscal position on the competitiveness of particular environmental sectors.

Environmental Services Association chief executive Dirk Hazell welcomed the ten-year extension to the RO scheme, but called on the Government to spped up green procurement to strengthen recycling markets.

He said: "There is much for environmentalists to welcome in the Chancellor's Pre-Budget statement. However, it would be a helpful strengthening of recycling markets if the Government - and indeed, the Scottish Government - could now announce an accelaration of green procurement plans as this would provide British jobs."   

The Chancellor also announced the introduction of a feed-in tariff that means that homes and small businesses that generate their own renewable electricity and heat will be able to benefit from a set tariff for providing energy into the National Grid. 

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