Defra has said it is confident that landfill targets will be met by 2020, as set out in the Landfill Directive, after waste chiefs last week expressed concerns that the target will not be reached.
The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) wrote a letter to Environmental Secretary Owen Patterson late last week warning that the current waste and recycling data used by government is outdated, and requires urgent review to prevent the UK falling further behind on its waste and recycling objectives.
ADEPT said that by using obsolete figures and statistics to determine key policy, investment and infrastructure decisions, the UK could find itself facing “crippling landfill fines” in years to come.
Defra – “We are confident that our landfill target will be met and our recent analysis supports this.”
However, Defra issued a statement saying: “We are confident that our landfill target will be met and our recent analysis supports this.
“It takes into account the risks posed by changes in waste trends and infrastructure and shows that we are continuing to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and that household recycling rates in England are increasing.”
President of ADEPT and strategic advisor at Cheshire West and Chester Council, Steve Kent, said: “In our view, the government is relying on trends in household waste that have been recorded during the most difficult economic conditions since the war. There is now growing evidence that those trends are simply a medium term adjustment and that as the country starts to return to growth and our population continues to increase, the UK will simply be ill prepared to manage its waste properly.
“ADEPT is not convinced that Defra has given these latest trends proper consideration when it comes to assessing the country’s future waste treatment needs, in a situation where it is already not certain that the 2020 requirements will be met. That is why we are calling on the Government to review the situation urgently to provide reassurance that the UK can meet its European Landfill Directive targets in seven years time.”