Britain seen doubling cost of dumping waste
LONDON - The British governemnt is expected to double taxes on landfilling when Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown gives his pre-budget report yesterday, the Environmental Services Association said this week.
The European Union\'s Landfill Directive, which came into force on July 16 this year, sets up tighter waste management standards over the next eighteen years by slashing the amount of biodegradable waste landfilled, and by separating out the most hazardous materials for safe treatment rather than dumping.
The ESA, the trade body for the UK\'s waste management industry, said the landfill tax will have to go up to help meet the cost of complying with this directive.
\"We\'ve expected it (landfill tax) to be doubled, we\'re hoping it will be at least doubled,\" Mike Walker, director of policy told Reuters.
Currently, it costs 13 to 14 pounds sterling to dump one tonne of waste in a landfill, and this cost is covered either by local governments, or councils, or by businesses.
\"We have been calling for it (the tax) to go up to 35 or 40 pounds a tonne, because only then will it make other treatement options competetive.
Under the landfill directive, operators would be responsible for determining how they meet the tougher standards set out by the EU directive, but the cost would have to be shouldered by the taxpayer.
\"We know it will cost money but the bottom line is we signed up to the European targets and we\'ve got a lot to do meet them,\" Walker said.
Britain sends about 80 to 90 million tonnes of waste a year to the dumps and has extremely cheap landfill costs. This low cost may have hobbled the country in the race to comply with the EU\'s environmental agenda, industry experts said.
\"At the moment, (UK) landfill is so cheap it\'s just not economical to recycle, which is why we don\'t recycle as much as other European countries do,\" Walker said.
REUTERS NEWS SERVICE
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