The UK’s 2020 landfill targets are at risk, local authority waste bosses have warned.
The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning & Transport (ADEPT) is concerned that the Government could be using out-of-date statistics to make key waste policy and investment decisions. It claims this could leave the country “unable to avoid potentially crippling landfill fines in the future”.
In a letter to environment secretary Owen Paterson (right), ADEPT calls for an urgent review of emerging waste trends so the UK can meet European Landfill Directive targets within seven years. The group fears that trends being relied on by the Government for its projections are out of kilter because of the recession.
Steve Kent, president of ADEPT and strategic adviser at Cheshire West and Chester Council, said: “There is now growing evidence that those trends are simply a medium-term adjustment and that, as the country starts to return to growth and as our population continues to increase, the UK will simply be ill-prepared to manage its waste properly.
“Current data is showing that more waste is being collected by local authorities across the country, but recycling rates are flattening and residual waste levels are on the rise. Those factors, combined with a gap in the amount of waste treatment capacity coming on-stream in the next few years, should be ringing alarm bells in Whitehall.”
ADEPT has previously raised concerns about the withdrawal of the Government’s PFI funding for three waste projects in February. The projects affected are: Bradford and Calderdale; Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority and Halton; and North Yorkshire and City of York.
In the letter to Paterson, ADEPT said the new waste trends are further evidence that the funding withdrawal was “short sighted in relation to the UK’s waste policy objectives”.