Page last updated at 13:59 GMT, Tuesday, 1 April 2008 14:59 UK

Council landfill costs increasing

A landfill site
Landfill waste rots and creates methane gas

The tax councils pay to dump rubbish in landfill sites is rising sharply.

The cost is going up by 8 a ton to 32, and over the next three years the tax will double to nearly 50 a ton.

Although the amount dumped in landfill has been decreasing, Britain is facing fines from the European Union if it does not see further reductions.

But a Local Government Association (LGA) spokesman said higher landfill taxes meant councils could not afford new recycling schemes.

Rotting landfill waste produces methane, a bigger contributor to global warming than CO2.

The increase could mean councils collect rubbish once a fortnight.

BBC Local Government correspondent John Andrew said the cost rise would increase the pressure on councils and households to recycle more.

The LGA said unless more revenue from landfill tax was ploughed back to councils, to help them invest in more recycling facilities, it would be council tax payers who picked up the bill.

Recycling facilities

Edward Welsh from the LGA said: "Unless the government fulfils its pledge to return the money raised through landfill tax to councils, an average of 15 could be put on to council taxpayers' bills next year alone.

"The government must fulfil its promise to pay back 1.5bn to councils over the next three years."

He added that homeowners are "doing their bit to recycle but the government must give councils the money to build the recycling facilities that the country needs".

Eariler, Paul Bettison, chair of the LGA's environment board, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that local authorities wanted to invest in additional ways of recycling but were too "starved of cash" to afford to pay for them.

"In my own authority for example, we'd love to introduce a weekly food waste collection, and recycle food waste, but unfortunately we just can't afford to do it because we're so busy paying landfill tax," he said.

A spokesman for the Department for the Environment said funding was being increased to help councils improve their management of waste.

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