The Landfill Tax is applied to those businesses who dispose of so much waste they are forced to use landfill sites. So however much rubbish you think your family manages to consume in any given week it is unlikely that the everyday consumer will come into contact with the Landfill Tax. However, for those dealing with a high tonnage of waste it can prove extremely important. A relatively new tax it was introduced only a decade ago in 1996 and was the first attempt by the British government to penalize those who treated the environment irresponsibly and also demonstrated a relatively new hope of integrating future climate planning into current policy.

The tax is calculated depending on two categories which separate the waste into active or inactive. After that it is priced by weight. Inactive waste is essentially any type of clothing material or concrete whereas active waste includes wood, piping and plastics. Landfill tax has been increasing steadily since the early nighties and recently there has been a more concerted focus on tightening regulations as many companies were attempting to cheat the system by disposing of their active waste at the cheaper inactive waste level.

The rate of tax has been steadily increasing to encourage companies to look towards alternative methods of disposing of waste. And from April will once again increase, this time in line with inflation. The lower rate of waste will increase from £2.50 to £2.65 whilst the standard rate of waste will increase from £80.00 per tonne to £82.60. This has largely been welcomed by the various commercial waste departments, waste management firm SITA UK have stated the government’s decision is “sensible.” Similarly, the Environmental Services association ESA and the CIWM have welcomed the increased tax rate because it provides the industry with a level of stability that has previously been missing.

However, there is now far more pressure to find alternative ways to deal with the waste. There is a general consensus that prices cannot simply continue to escalate, but rather there must be a renewed effort to work out what to do with the mass amount of waste that is building up in landfill sites.

Conversely, the far tighter legislation that has been implemented in ensuring the right category is attributed to discarded waste has been met with some serious objections. New legislation will see LOI (loss on ignition) testing more tightly controlled with samples now being regularly tested to ensure each site is completely following the guidelines. This has raised concerns that as the samples are tested at different laboratory centers a 1% discrepancy could see small businesses struggle to shoulder the burden, as it could put them in an entirely different tax bracket. Not only that, but given that Scotland will not be rolling out the changes until later in the year, there is a concern of waste tourism as businesses seek to dispose of their waste in our Northern neighbor for a lower price.

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