UK likely to miss landfill targets

| 28th September 2009
Failure to meet EU landfill targets will cost the UK upwards of £100m in fines
Badly thought out waste policy could land the UK with a £0.5 billion fine

The UK is a long way from meeting EU landfill targets, according to a recent survey of stakeholders in the waste sector.

Just over half the respondents expect the UK to meet the first deadline in 2010 for new requirements to reduce biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill.

But more than two-thirds of respondents thought the UK would fail to meet the 2013 targets.

If the UK fails to meet next year's target it will face a £180m fine. This would rise to £500m if it failed to meet the 2013 and 2020 targets.

The other responses of the survey found:
•    Despite the pessimism for 2013 EU landfill targets, 76.5 per cent are optimistic the 2020 targets will be met

•    73 per cent think planning issues are the main barrier to a waste PFI programme      

•    97 per cent think that the private sector has an important role to play in enabling the UK to meet EU landfill targets.

•    54.2 per cent think there is not a viable, long term and sustainable market for waste by-products

Norton Rose LLP, which conducted the research, said the Government was not making the most out of the potential of biomass in particular.

'There are real opportunities being missed to maximise the amount of heat and electricity recovered from biomass waste,' said Norton Rose LLP partner Mark Berry.

'Unfortunately, the Government has concluded that there is no overall consensus about measures to encourage use of waste biomass. Our waste to energy policy ought to be better organised and more focussed,' he said.

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Norton Rose LLP

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