Skip operators are to offer prime minister David Cameron an ultimatum: freeze the controversial landfill tax hike or prepare for Queen’s Jubilee weekend chaos.
The furious operators are threatening to send more than a thousand skips to block the streets of London over the four-day weekend if the Government does not freeze the landfill tax hike within the next two days.
It follows the Government announcing changes to landfill tax, which have seen the tax cost of disposing of certain materials increase by a staggering 2,460% overnight.
Richard Hunt, chair of the Plant, Waste and Recycling Show, told MRW: “We are giving David Cameron 48 hours to freeze the landfill tax hike or the Queen’s Jubilee weekend might be ruined.
“We will block up central London. We spoke about blocking up the M25 but we do not want to stop people who may be going to the airports to go away on their holidays.”
And the protest could escelate further. “If this does not work, we are considering targeting the Olympics,” said Hunt.
He added that businesses were already closing and that the huge hike in disposal costs was “another nail in the coffin” for the construction industry, which would feel a knock-on effect as the cost of waste disposal rockets.
A decision on the blockade will be made at a meeting in London on Wednesday 30 May convened by the Plant, Waste and Recycling Show and attended by over 150 skip operator firms from across the country.
Meanwhile, the Plant, Waste and Recycling Show’s petition “Say no to increased landfill tax and rising fuel costs” has already attracted nearly 1,500 signatures.
Skip operators and smaller waste firms who deal with construction and demolition and commercial waste said the move threatened to kill off a raft of small and medium size disposal outfits.
The change that’s rocked the industry
So-called “inert” fines from trommels and screens (material that is not going to contaminate landfill and does not count towards the EU biodegradable landfill targets) was charged at the lower landfill tax rate of £2.50.
But now merchants will have to pay the full rate of £64-a-tonne to landfill which is paid for “active” material, including non-inert fines that can biodegrade and create methane.
In addition, waste or material used to cover waste in landfill areas before they are capped will also be taxed at the full rate. This had previously been regarded as “engineering material”.
The move, outlined in a HMRC briefing document published on 18 May, relates to a judgement in the HMRC v Waste Recycling Group (2008) case.