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Scotland aligns landfill tax with UK regime

The Scottish Government has included a water discount and loss of ignition (LoI) testing in provisions for its landfill tax regulations.

The move aligns the levy, which will be devolved from April, to the regime in place in the rest of the UK. Tax rates have already been set at the same levels.

Under the current system, landfill operators can apply for a 25% discount on the water content of waste in certain circumstances, such as when water has been used to damp down waste to reduce dust.

But a summer consultation on the Scottish landfill tax proposed excluding this discount on the grounds that it could encourage the addition of water to waste and add to environmental problems through leachate.

Stakeholders argued that the cost of de-watering waste would put Scottish businesses at a disadvantage.

Scottish ministers have now decided to introduce the discount on non-naturally occurring water from waste deposits, which emulates the UK discount.

Similarly, they have opted to introduce a LoI test to determine whether trommel fines can be eligible for the £2.50 per tonne lower rate, a measure that is also going to be introduced in the rest of the UK from April.

Scottish Environmental Services Association policy adviser Stephen Freeland welcomed the regulatory changes, and said: “WE have argued that the removal of the water discount, as previously proposed, would place Scottish businesses at a competitive disadvantage to their UK counterparts, and would simply encourage the transport of material over longer distances to disposal markets elsewhere in the UK.”

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