Councils are already charged £48 for every tonne of rubbish they throw into landfill and this amount is due to increase by £8 each year to £72 per tonne in 2013. In last week’s Budget, Alistair Darling announced plans to increase landfill tax for a further year so that in 2014, councils will be paying £80 for every tonne of rubbish they throw in the ground.
New analysis by the Local Government Association, which represents councils in England and Wales, shows that at current rates of landfill, this will add an extra £110m to council rubbish costs, with landfill tax adding as much as £49 a year to council tax bills by 2014.
Council leaders say that while increasing landfill tax acts as an incentive to cut waste being sent to landfill, the Government should fulfill its promise to return the extra money it raises to councils. Town halls say this will allow more money to be invested in recycling services so less rubbish ends up in landfill.
The Local Government Association is calling for an open and fair way of returning money raised by landfill tax to local councils so that council taxpayers do not pick up the bill.
Chairman of the LGA Environment Board, Cllr Gary Porter, said:
“Landfill tax is quite literally costing council taxpayers the earth and this latest rise will only add to the bill. The fear is that householders could ultimately pick up the extra cost. Dumping rubbish in a hole in the ground isn’t just bad for the environment, it threatens to hit the council taxpayer in the pocket unless we cut back.
“It’s more important than ever that people recycle as much as possible. If we don’t reduce landfill, councils and council taxpayers could soon face further EU fines of £150 for every tonne of rubbish that is landfilled above a set amount.
”Despite repeated requests, the Government is yet to demonstrate in a clear and transparent way how landfill tax is being given back to local authorities. Councils could use money paid in landfill tax to keep council tax down and build the waste and recycling facilities this country needs.
“Local people deserve great credit for boosting this country’s recycling rates so dramatically in recent years. Punishing councils and council taxpayers is not going to help increase recycling rates. This money should be used to help make recycling even easier for busy householders.”