Final allocation for landfill allowances announced

The Government has confirmed the final allocation of landfill allowances for England's 121 waste disposal authorities, setting the limit on the amount of biodegradable municipal waste they can dispose of in landfill sites.

Allocations have been set in advance of the launch of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) on April 1st this year.

“Government will be introducing the scheme to help local authorities meet the tough new targets under the EU Landfill Directive in the most cost effective way,” Environment Minister Elliot Morley said. “While the targets are challenging, this is an innovative approach which gives authorities the flexibility to decide how and when to make the necessary changes in the way they handle their waste, while ensuring that England meets national and international obligations.”

Waste disposal authorities will be able to trade their allowances with other disposal authorities, selling allowances if their waste has already been diverted to other disposal routes such as recycling, or buying allowances if they have no alternative but to landfill more waste than their allocation allows.

They will also be able to ‘bank’ their unused allowances, or ‘borrow’ those they want to bring forward as part of future allocations.

Diverting biodegradable municipal waste from landfill is a key objective of the EU Landfill Directive. One tonne of biodegradable waste – such as paper, card, textiles, kitchen and garden waste – produces between 200 and 400 cubic metres of landfill gas. Landfills also released 25% of the UK’s methane emissions in 2001.

By 2010 biodegradable waste going to landfill should be 75% or less than the amount produced in 1995. By 2013 this will be reduced to 50%, and 35% by 2020.

Defra has also produced an electronic tool to help local authorities to integrate LATS with their waste strategy.

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