Responsibility for administering landfill tax in Scotland could be transferred from Westminster to the Scottish Government under draft legislation launched this week.
If voted through the Landfill Tax (Scotland) Bill would replace UK Landfill Tax from 1 April 2015, and would make the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) responsible for tax collection.
This is unlike UK Landfill Tax, which is collected by HM Revenue and Customs.
It would also give SEPA “tougher enforcement tools” to clamp down on illegal dumping and environmental crime. Illegal waste dumpers could not only receive a fine, but be taxed based on the costs involved of legally disposing the waste.
The Scottish Government said the policy represented a ‘major change to the current UK tax system, which only taxes legal activities’.
SEPA chief executive James Curran said the move would encourage waste minimisation and support the development of alternative waste technologies.
He added: “It will also help create a level playing field for operators by tackling the problem of illegal waste dumping.”
Also under the draft legislation, Scottish ministers would be able to set different rates of landfill tax for different materials.
Finance secretary John Swinney said: “I am eager to use this opportunity to ensure that landfill tax, environmental protection legislation, regulation and compliance regimes are all aligned and working in the best interests of our environment and our economy.
“Landfill Tax is a cornerstone of Scotland’s Zero Waste Plan which encourages the prevention, reuse and recycling of waste and helping keep valuable resources circulating in the Scottish economy.”
The bill follows on from a consultation launched last year, which proposed raising the amount of tax diverted to environmental community groups by 10%. A Scottish Government spokesperson said this was an “indicative figure” and that the exact level would need to be set through secondary legislation once the bill had been passed.