Landfill tax has increased to £56 per tonne today (1 April), but waste industry figures do not think it will be a significant year for triggering change within businesses.
The landfill tax escalator has added £8 per tonne to the cost of disposing of waste to landfill. This is set to happen on the 1 April each year until 2014 when it will charge £80 per tonne to send waste landfill.
Waste consultancy AEA global practice director for waste management Dr Adam Read said: “I don’t think the £56 per tonne tax will have a significant impact. The long-term security that the Government has given to the incremental growth of the landfill tax will have more of an impact [because businesses and local authorities know it’s here to stay for a few years]. This has made businesses consider their options and put other waste management actions in place, so although we may see more businesses making changes this year, it won’t be because of a knee-jerk reaction to the £56 tax in particular.”
WRG owns and operates many landfills but it currently diversifying into waste to energy. General manager Mike Snell said: “We’re noticing that the increasing landfill tax has been making a difference in attitudes and behaviours. But I don’t think it will be a particularly significant year for businesses not being able to afford it, it just creates further difficulties for them and local authorities.”
One materials merchant told MRW that his business could not absorb the whole tax and a proportion of it will be passed on to his customers.
The Local Government Association (LGA) calculated that if the UK continued landfilling 10% of its waste, as it does currently, it will cost local authorities £590m in landfill tax rates. LGA environment board vice chairman Clyde Loakes said: “That’s a breath-taking amount of money at a time when council budgets are being reduced by 28 per cent in real terms over the next four years. It injects an even greater sense of urgency into addressing the very real problem of waste.
“If the UK is to minimise the cost of landfill tax, meet its waste reduction targets, and avoid up to £180 million in possible fines from Europe, coordinated action is needed. Retailers and manufacturers need to dramatically reduce the amount of excess packaging and food waste that ends up in people’s homes. The Government needs to ensure there are enough recycling plants and alternative waste management options to cope with the waste diverted from landfill. And councils need to retain the freedom to work with residents to boost recycling and cut waste in the most locally appropriate ways.“
Projected landfill tonnage and landfill tax costs
|Year||Predicted Landfill tonnage pa||Landfill tax per tonne||Predicted annual cost for England|