Councils smash landfill targets

Every local authority in Wales has met tough targets to cut the amount of biodegradable waste they can send to landfill sites.

Figures published this week for the financial year 2007-08 show that the country as a whole is already 4% below the EU landfill target it will have to meet in 2009-10.

The Landfill Allowances Scheme (LAS) limits the amount of biodegradable municipal waste councils can send to landfill.

It is the fourth year in a row that Welsh local authorities have beaten LAS targets set by the Welsh Assembly.

Environment Minister Jane Davidson said: “These figures show clearly that, nationally, Wales is ahead of the target set for diverting biodegradable municipal waste from landfill which in addition to reducing the amount of rubbish that goes into landfill also helps in the battle against climate change.”

But she said town halls should now turn their attention to ways of recycling food waste. Councils were given an extra £15m in waste grants to put towards food waste recycling schemes earlier this year.

Waste is one of the biggest environmental issues in Wales. In 2005-06, councils collected a total of 1.87m tonnes of waste, including biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. Nearly three quarters of this waste was sent to landfill.

The figures published by the Environment Agency Wales show that authorities sent only 680,912 tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste to landfill compared to an allowance of 866,000 tonnes.

Chris Mills, director of the Environment Agency Wales, said: “This will have a real impact towards reducing the amount of greenhouse gases that landfill sites produce. But we need to build on this.

“The targets that local authorities have to meet are getting tighter each year.”

Councillor Aled Roberts, environment spokesman for the Welsh Local Government Association, said: “Today’s figures show that our waste management strategies are working and councils’ commitment to encouraging a cultural shift in consumer behaviour is paying off.”

Kate Martin

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