William Eichler 27 February 2019

Scotland’s landfill ban will be £100m tax gift to England, waste experts say

Waste management experts have ‘expressed deep concern’ that Scotland is not adequately prepared for a landfill ban which will lead to higher haulage costs for councils.

From 1 January 2021, landfill operators in Scotland will be prohibited from accepting biodegradable municipal waste for disposal in landfill.

However, according to the Scottish Environmental Services Association (SESA), Scotland ‘lacks sufficient non-landfill treatment capacity’ to meet the ban’s deadline.

SESA, the voice of Scotland’s resources and waste management industry, warned that approximately one million tonnes of residual waste will have to find disposal outlets outside Scotland.

The most likely destination for the waste will be England, according to SESA, where the current Landfill Tax is £88.95/tonne but is planned to be raised to over £94/tonne by April 2020.

‘Restricting or banning certain materials can act as a great incentive to recover value from the waste we all produce — but it needs to be properly planned for,’ said SESA’s policy advisor, Stephen Freeland.

‘Bringing this ban in too early before the infrastructure is built in Scotland to deal properly with the waste will simply mean the waste will follow the line of least resistance.

‘This means either crossing the border into England to be landfilled, meaning higher haulage costs to local authorities and businesses and a hefty landfill tax bill, or worse it will end up in the hands of waste criminals who cause misery for people, damage to the environment, and have a significant impact on UK finances.

‘Either way, that won’t be good for the environment or Scotland’s economy and we will be seeking an early meeting with Scottish Government to help come up with a plan of action that will help resolve this situation.’

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