1. Purpose of the Tax
At present waste management practices in the UK are heavily weighted towards the bottom of the waste hierarchy. However, the Government has acknowledged (DETR 1998) that for the UK to manage its waste in this fashion is unacceptable, because it is a non-sustainable approach and because there is a limited and fast declining number of voids in which to dispose of waste (Read 1999). Thus, the Government has been anxious to be seen to be pursuing a sustainable waste management policy, and has thus sought to reduce the quantity of waste being landfilled (Read et al 1998). In order to make these options more cost-effective and readily available, the Government introduced the Landfill Tax on 1st October 1996 (HM Customs and Excise 1996). The purpose of the tax is firstly 'to ensure that landfill waste disposal is properly priced so as to reflect its environmental cost' and secondly 'to promote a more sustainable approach to waste management in which less waste is produced and more waste is either reused or has value recovered from it'. The belief is that if landfill (which is a relatively cheap and easy option for managing waste) were more expensive, as it was in other parts of Europe, waste producers would utilise other ways of disposing of their waste (HM Customs & Excise 1998).