Documents released with Chancellor George Osborne’s Budget speech today (19 March) revealed Landfill Tax will rise in line with inflation from 2015-16, but there was no long-term plan mentioned. It also revealed that the Environment Agency is to receive additional funding to tackle waste crime.
“The Government intends to provide further longer-term certainty about the future level of landfill tax rates once the consultation process on testing regime has concluded, but in the mean time is committed to ensuring that the rates are not eroded in real terms,” the document said.
Colin Church, director of resource and waste at Defra, announced there would also be extra cash for the Environment Agency to tackle waste crime.
He tweeted: “#Budget2014: Chancellor announces additional funding to tackle waste crime in England – £5m in 2014-15”.
He said that the additional waste crime funding would enable Defra and the Environment Agency to do more to ensure effective compliance & enforcement of waste law.
ESA – “The industry is also pleased to hear that there will be an increase in funding for waste crime enforcement. Hopefully this will go some way towards addressing the estimated £800m annual cost to the UK economy. These are both things the industry has been calling for and are welcomed”
Revealing what they wanted to see in the Budget yesterday (18 March), Chris Dow of Closed Loop Recycling called for a rise in Landfill Tax, while the ESA stated it wanted clarity for its future.
The ESA also called for additional resources to be provided to the Environment Agency so that it can continue its fight against waste crimes.
The ESA reacted with disappointment to the announcements made by the Chancellor, saying: “It is disappointing that the Chancellor has failed to take this opportunity to provide the industry with the long term clarity on landfill tax it needs. Some solace though is provided by confirmation that an objective testing regime for classifying material as lower rate will be introduced.
“The industry is also pleased to hear that there will be an increase in funding for waste crime enforcement. Hopefully this will go some way towards addressing the estimated £800m annual cost to the UK economy. These are both things the industry has been calling for and are welcomed.”
There was no mention of when the Green Investment Bank will be allowed to borrow in the Chancellor’s speech, which featured on the “wish list” of Friends of the Earth.
Ray Georgeson, Resource Association – “We are relieved to see a clear statement that Landfill Tax will in the short-term increase in line with RPI and not be eroded in real terms. We still believe there is scope for significant future increases in Landfill Tax to further drive on towards recycling targets and complete the switch in emphasis in the UK on how we dispose of resources…”
Friends of the Earth economics campaigner, David Powell said of the Budget: “The Chancellor’s dangerous fossil fuel fixation is storing up huge problems for the future.
“George Osborne’s pledge to extract every drop of oil and gas we can from the North Sea will completely undermine efforts to decarbonise the economy.”
Resource Association’s chief executive Ray Georgeson welcomed the additional support of £5m offered to further tackle “the scourge of waste crime”.
He said: “We are relieved to see a clear statement that Landfill Tax will in the short-term increase in line with RPI and not be eroded in real terms. We still believe there is scope for significant future increases in Landfill Tax to further drive on towards recycling targets and complete the switch in emphasis in the UK on how we dispose of resources…”
“The measures highlighted that we have welcomed do not add up to a coherent green economy package – they never do under this Chancellor, and we didn’t expect they would in this Budget either…”
Responding to the Budget 2014, CIWM’s Chief Executive Steve Lee described it as a pragmatic budget in terms of waste and resources.
“Increasing landfill tax in line with inflation is the outcome we expected and is a pragmatic approach for the medium term,” he said. “While it is important that this valuable mechanism continues to be effective in driving resources out of landfill and back into economically and environmentally beneficial use, there is not the evidence base to support further significant increases at this time. However, CIWM would urge The Treasury and Defra to keep this under review and undertake further work to map out the future role of Landfill Tax to underpin progress on resource efficiency.
“We welcome the clarity on the lower rate of landfill tax with regard to fines from waste transfer stations and other processing facilities and we would expect the forthcoming consultation to propose a staged introduction to give the industry time to put the necessary procedures in place.
“On waste crime, CIWM warmly welcomes the £5m grant in aid from the Landfill Communities Fund. This fund has and will continue to do a lot of good work, but we welcome allocation of a proportion of these funds to tackle this serious problem. The industry has been united in calling on Government to recognise the growing impact of waste crime and we have seen the scale of the problem quantified by recent research from the ESA Education Trust. We are pleased that these calls have been recognised and it is essential that this money is put to effective use to build the case for further funding in the future.
“Disappointingly, there is no news on the borrowing powers of the Green Investment Bank and the Budget is weak on the wider resource efficiency front, as expected. However, we are pleased that the Government has acted on a number of important issues for our sector.”