Headlines: May 1st, 2007



There is a new claim that local councils could be paying up to 3 billion pounds in landfill tax over the next four years. The figures have come for the Local Government Association, which is pressing for a way to return money raised by the tax to local authorities.

The LGA’s figures are based on the fact that from April this year the landfill tax paid by councils increased to 24 pounds per tonne and will increase again to 32 pounds a tonne next year. By 2010 councils will face fines of up to 150 pounds per tonne of waste sent landfill sites over and above a set quota. The cost of those fines, it says, will be passed to council tax payers and it quotes figures from the National Audit Office, which estimates that by 2013 taxpayers could face fines of up to 200 million pounds for failure to cut the amount of rubbish going to landfill.

The LGA is calling for an open and fair way for money raised by landfill tax to be returned to local councils to ensure the 3 billion pound bill does not have to be met by local people. It accepts that Britain must cut its waste mountain and says local councils are working with retailers to achieve this. It adds, though, that ‘people power’ will be needed to put pressure on producers to reduce wasteful packaging, which is estimated to create five million tonnes of household rubbish each year. That means packaging represents almost a fifth of household waste and will cost householders in England 4.8 billion pounds to bin over the next six years.

LGA Chairman Sandy Bruce Lockhart said “This new analysis clearly demonstrates the huge financial problems facing councils because of the escalating cost from landfill tax. The fear is that householders could ultimately pick up the cost of this. Above all councils will be working with local residents to work out to exactly what sort of waste service and approach is needed to minimise the three billion pound bill.