Tuesday, March 19, 2013

EU politics: the elephant in the refuse tip

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New research from the Local Government Association (LGA), we are told, finds landfill charges will cost taxpayers almost £750 million next year, even though the amount of household waste being sent to landfill by councils is set to fall for the tenth year in a row.

The LGA say the eleven percent automatic increase is being used to fill the "black hole" in Treasury's books, and will only lead to money being diverted away from local services.

Mike Jones, Chair of LGA's Environment and Housing Board, said: ‘Since central government started collecting the money generated through landfill tax they will have almost quadrupled the charge from £24 to £80 a ton.

This, he complains, equates to almost six times the average rate of inflation, yet none of this extra money is being invested in developing our waste infrastructure or helping us hit our recycling targets.

But nowhere do we hear Mr Jones tell us that the reason this tax has been levied is to force local authorities to meet EU targets under the landfill directive. One might have more sympathy with Mr Jones if he did, especially if you add the extra cost of the fruitless recycling.

And this, as Raedwald points out, has special relevance, as there is no market for much of the recycled material anyway.