Page last updated at 03:14 GMT, Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Landfill tax 'costing homes 30'

Landfill site (Image: PA)
The landfill tax is aimed at encouraging councils to recycle more

Local authorities in England say dumping rubbish in landfill sites will cost the average home 30 this year.

They say the taxes imposed on councils for using landfill, which are aimed at encouraging more recycling, should be put back into recycling facilities.

The Local Government Association said its members were "caught in a trap".

From April, councils will have to pay 40 per tonne of landfill rubbish. By 2010, the tax will have doubled over three years to nearly 50 a tonne.

The government's landfill tax is aimed at encouraging councils to send less material to landfill and recycle more.

At current rates of landfill use, the tax this year will cost the equivalent of 30 for every household in England, the Local Government Association (LGA) said.

'Catch 22'

Paul Bettison, chairman of the LGA environment board, said: "The logic (of the landfill tax) works fine but if you cannot afford to install the necessary systems for recycling, then you are stuck just paying the landfill tax.

"This money just goes into the general exchequer and the government are loathe to give it back to councils."

He called for the money to be ring-fenced for investment in additional recycling schemes.

Councils have to approach the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to request a share of the revenue raised.

But a spokesman said it was the middleman and it was the Treasury which decided whether cash should go back into local authority budgets.

Figures out earlier this week suggested householders in England have recycled 1.1bn worth of rubbish in the past five years.

The Recycle Now campaign said that was the value of the materials such as glass and paper sent for recycling since 2003.

It said 33.8m tonnes of rubbish had been sent for recycling - an amount that would have cost 1.8bn to send to landfill and would fill the Royal Albert Hall more than 1,000 times.

The LGA said councils only saw a fraction of the 1.1bn as many companies were involved in the recycling process.

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