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Wales sets out plans on landfill tax and recycling penalties

The Welsh Government has released details of proposed new powers over devolved landfill tax and fixed penalty notices to householders who fail to recycle.

A landfill disposals tax, outlined in a Bill, will replace the existing regime in Wales and will come into effect in April 2018. The rates will be announced by ministers in October.

It will be applied to illegal waste sites, a move that is currently being considered HM Revenue & Customs for England and Northern Ireland.

There are 25 landfill sites in Wales run by 20 operators. It is estimated the devolved tax will generate £25m in 2018-19.

A landfill disposals tax communities scheme will also be set up to issue grants to offset the impact of landfill. This will replace the current communities scheme (see box).

Welsh finance secretary Mark Drakeford said: “In less than a year’s time, we will be introducing the first Welsh taxes in almost 800 years and Wales will become responsible for raising our own money to spend on public services.

“We have worked closely with stakeholders in developing this Bill. While it is broadly consistent with the existing landfill tax, therefore providing stability to businesses and minimising the risk of waste tourism, we have made a number of improvements.”

A consultation on granting councils the power to issue fixed penalty notices on households that do not correctly recycle has also been published.

The Welsh Government expects an increase in councils’ enforcement activity because, currently, the only sanctions can be taken through the courts.

The consultation said: “The outcomes will be the diversion of more recyclable material from residual waste and consequent increases in both recycling performance and savings to local authorities.”

The new powers are being consulted on ahead of an expected announcement that Wales will set a target to recycle 80% of domestic waste.

Speaking at MRW’s National Recycling Awards on 28 June, Welsh Government head of waste strategy Andy Rees said the new target would take effect “some time after 2025”.

Rees was winner of the Editor’s Award.

The Welsh Government on the landfill disposals tax communities scheme

  • It will be run as a grant scheme and not a voluntary tax credit scheme, meaning all landfill sites will contribute to the fund. Currently, landfill sites have the option to make voluntary contributions of a proportion of their tax to the scheme and they can then claim 90% of this back.
  • There will be one distributive body, who will administer the grant in Wales. So there will be one single point of contact and one set of rules for all applicants in Wales. Current set up includes both environmental bodies and distributive bodies and each of these can specify their own requirements, for example they may fund some of the objects specified by entrust and not all five.
  • Our grant will focus on three funding areas – biodiversity, waste minimisation and wider environmental enhancements – as a result of our public consultation.
  • Our grant has reduced eligibility to five miles around a landfill site but also extends eligibility to waste transfer stations which sends a minimum of 2,000 tonnes of waste to landfill. This enables those who are most affected by the disposal of waste to landfill to benefit.

Our website is a good reference on the new scheme.

Last December we published a paper on the new scheme.

  • This article was amended at 12.55 on 30 June to update details on the landfill tax communities scheme

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