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EA opts for simpler closed landfill charge

The Environment Agency (EA) has chosen what it said was the simpler of two options for setting charges for closed landfill permits.

It consulted last winter on whether to have a system of inclusive charges with ‘lower requirement’ categories where no gas was being extracted from a site.

The alternative was a system of a baseline charge with site-specific supplements, which had 19 possible permutations.

“After careful consideration, we have decided to implement [the inclusive charges system] as it was set out in the consultation“, the EA said in its consultation response.

“The new system of charges will recover the costs of…regulation while recognising that it is desirable to keep the annual subsistence charge paid by each permit holder as low as possible. We consider this approach to be reasonable and proportionate, fair to large and small operators, and necessary to discharge our duties to protect people and the environment.”

It said its most recent work on closed landfills showed that, while some sites were well maintained, infrastructure failings often occurred because these were installed long ago.

One-fifth of sites that were permitted to accept hazardous or non-hazardous wastes had leachate levels in excess of compliance limits and, at almost half, landfill gas concentrations were above perimeter compliance limits, while some polluted surface and/or groundwater.

“For these reasons we maintain our view that closed landfills do pose risks that we need to address through the proposed regulatory approach outlined in the consultation,” the EA said.

Its charging decisions also included minor change to the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and WEEE charges.

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