Headlines: April 7th, 2005

Businesses in Wales are to get funding to help them reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill sites. The Welsh Assembly Government is making 9.5 million pounds available over the next three years.Almost 7 million of the new funding will be available through the Assembly’s Materials Action Programme. The programme includes additional funding for the Waste and Resources Action Programme, finding markets for recyclable materials produced by businesses; funding for an initiative to link companies producing waste to those that can use it as valuable raw material; money to improve the understanding of how waste resources are currently managed in Wales and new cash for the Environment Agency to improve enforcement action against fly tipping.

Welsh Assembly ministers say the announcement of new funds is further proof that being environmentally friendly makes good business sense and that in ignoring the waste reduction message businesses could lose out financially. Andrew Davies, the Minister for Economic Development and Transport, said the programme underpinned many aspects of the Business and Environment Action Plan for Wales and would help businesses prepare for the challenges of resource efficiency and integrated product policy. “These are very much on the agenda across Europe and many other parts of the world, and we must make sure that Welsh businesses are leaders, rather than followers,” he said.

Environment, Planning and Countryside Minister Carwyn Jones said companies could save a huge amount of money by cutting waste and improving resource efficiency, often with little or no investment and he urged them to get involved.

The Landfill Tax increased this month from 15 pounds per tonne to 18 pounds per tonne for “active” wastes and it will rise annually by 3 per tonne until it reaches 35 pounds.