Click here to go back to News listing.February 07, 2012
The landfill tax was created to incite councils to improve their waste management and recycling services and divert as much waste from landfills as possible. The principle behind it is plausible and logical but yearly raises and challenging targets to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill are costing councils millions of pounds each year.
Since 1998 when the landfill tax was implemented the government has been raising it year on year. In 1998 the fine was £7 per tonne and now 14 years later it climbed to £64.
Sending waste to landfill, specially biodegradable waste, pollutes the soil and produces green house gases which contribute to global warming. Implementing measures to divert as much waste from landfills as possible, like the landfill tax, is only logical. But to what extent this is cost effective.
For the government sure is because their pocketing the money councils have to pay for the waste they send to landfills. Councils are already struggling with the squeeze on their budgets imposed by the same government.
Councils are spending more on landfill taxes than on essential services for the population. Worcestershire for instance paid £6 million in fines last year, the same amount they have to spend on libraries and four times what they have to spend on subsidies for local bus services.
If that wasn’t enough councils are also struggling to meet demanding targets set by the UK Government based on the EU’s Landfill Directive. Every UK council will have to reduce the amount they send to landfill to 50% of their 1995 levels by 2013, and to 35% by 2020.
I’m not advocating that we should just send all the municipal waste to landfills and worry about it later. Instead of just keep increase the value of such taxes the government should create more schemes to incite the population and local authorities to produces less waste and increase the recycling levels of the waste produced.
But it is not only the government’s fault, councils need to be more proactive in finding ways to divert as much waste as possible from landfills. Not a single council have yet applied for a share of the £10 million fund the government created to help councils build Anaerobic Digestion Plants to process food waste..
If we are to achieve the dream of a zero waste society I believe this must be done between us all.