A lack of waste infrastructure in Scotland could see councils and businesses being forced to send waste to England, and pay hefty haulage and landfill costs, once the Scottish landfill ban comes into force.
The Scottish Environmental Services Association (SESA) has warned against bringing in the landfill ban on biodegradable municipal waste “too early”.
It said the country does not have sufficient non-landfill treatment capabilities available to deal with the extra material when the ban comes into force on 1 January 2021.
Around one million tonnes of residual waste will have to find disposal outside of Scotland, according to SESA, which it believes will mean disposal in England, which does not have a ban in operation.
The association is urging the Scottish Government to review the waste procurement framework and accelerate investment in waste infrastructure.
Michael Tracey, SESA chair, said: “We need common sense to prevail here. Bringing in this ban without giving enough time to build the right infrastructure to deal with the waste that will be banned from landfill and effectively ’homeless’ will be a costly mistake for Scotland.”
Landfill tax in England is £88.95 per tonne but there are plans to raise this to more than £94 per tonne by April 2020.
Stephen Freeland, SESA policy adviser, added: “Restricting or banning certain materials can act as a great incentive to recover value from the waste we all produce, but it needs to be properly planned for.
“Bringing this ban in too early before the infrastructure is built in Scotland to deal properly with the waste will simply mean it will follow the line of least resistance.
“This means either crossing the border into England to be landfilled, meaning higher haulage costs to local authorities and businesses and a hefty landfill tax bill, or, worse, it will end up in the hands of waste criminals who cause misery for people, damage to the environment and have a significant impact on UK finances.
“Either way, that won’t be good for the environment or Scotland’s economy. We will be seeking an early meeting with Scottish Government to help come up with a plan of action that will help resolve this situation.”