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Welsh Local Authorities hit landfill targets a year early

Wales has hit its European Union Landfill Directive target a year early, and its local authorities have managed to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

The Landfill Allowances Scheme limits the amount of waste councils can send to landfill.

Overall, councils sent 599,703 tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste to landfill compared to the 2008/09 Wales allowance of 788,000 tonnes this is 24 per cent less than the allowance.

Wales is currently 16 per cent below the first landfill target for 2010.

WLGA Environment spokesman Aled Roberts said: Welsh councils have consistently reduced the amount of waste they send to landfill over the last few years and have achieved this by joining forces to tackle significant waste pressures, for example looking at waste reduction, recycling collections and introducing food treatment and food waste collection services.

Eighteen of the 22 councils in Wales are now operating food waste collection services.

Roberts said: Todays (1 September) figures reveal that Wales is already one year ahead of target for exceeding the first EU target in 2010. This is great progress and has only been possible through the efforts of the Welsh public by taking part in the collection schemes offered by local authorities. However, to achieve this has taken considerable effort and expenditure on behalf of local authorities. We must remember that the landfill allowance targets increase significantly between now and March 2013; this means there needs to be a further, commensurate increase in the amount of materials diverted through recycling.

Welsh Assembly Government Environment Minister Jane Davidson welcomed the figures but said she wanted further progress.

She said: These new figures are great news and show how councils are making significant progress in changing the way we deal with our waste.

Reducing landfill is a key part in the battle to protect our environment. Landfill uses up our precious land and the rotting waste beneath the soil can damage our environment by producing harmful carbon emissions.

I now want to build on this progress. The increase of recycling of separately collected food waste will be vital for local authorities to meet the next EU target set for 2013. Councils who exceed their targets face significant fines, which would not be good for the taxpayer.

Environment Agency Wales director Chris Mills said: Landfills are the most unsustainable way of dealing with the waste we produce every day. Biodegradable waste in landfills such as paper, cardboard, food and garden waste, accounts for around 30 per cent of all methane emissions in Wales, which is a major contributor to climate change.


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