Government proposes waste trading scheme

The Government has put a proposal to force local authorities to reduce their biodegradable waste going to landfill before parliament. The bill includes a proposal for a waste trading scheme, probably the first of its kind in Europe, says the Department for the Environment.

The Waste and Emissions Trading Bill, announced only a day after the State Opening of Parliament (see related story), had its first reading in the House of Lords on 14 November.

The proposed legislation is designed to assist the UK in achieving the targets set by the European Landfill Directive, which requires the progressive diversion of biodegradable waste away from landfill, the banning of certain hazardous wastes from landfill, and pre-treatment of waste prior to landfilling. One specific requirement of the directive is that from next year landfill will no longer be an option for the disposal of waste tyres, leading to fears of increased fly-tipping (see related story).

Local councils will be awarded waste disposal permits which they will be able to trade with other waste authorities. In the case of English councils the permits will be awarded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). However, if councils fail to achieve their targets, they will be subject to penalties, according to the bill.

The second part of the bill is concerned with putting the UK’s emissions trading scheme (see related story) on a legal footing. The bill will allow the Government to fine participants in the scheme that fail to comply with emission reduction targets.

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