The Landfill Communities Fund – formerly known as the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme – celebrates its 10th anniversary this month and, as one of the UK’s first ‘green taxes’ has proved a successful and effective initiative.

In a nutshell, the scheme sees landfill operators paying into a pot which is then used to award grants to those living within ten miles of the site seeking to set up projects that have social or environmental benefits.

Welcoming the anniversary, Financial Secretary to the Treasury John Healey said: “The £700m distributed by the scheme has funded more than 19,000 community projects across the UK to improve public amenities and parks, run biodiversity projects and restore community buildings.

“From a few hundred pounds to help renovate a village hall, to a few thousand to help establish a local nature reserve, the landfill communities scheme has helped make a real difference in neighbourhoods across the UK.”

Since changes introduced in the Budget 2006, landfill operators have been able to give a greater proportion of their tax liability to the fund, effectively putting an extra £10m a year into local schemes.

And environmental bodies are now being actively encouraged to use this extra money to provide opportunities for youth volunteering through their projects.

Mr Healey said: “The additional money for the scheme in this year’s Budget will boost the involvement of youth volunteers in environmental projects – therefore also supporting the Government’s drive to encourage more volunteering and activities for young people.”

“An additional benefit of the scheme is that any donation is classified as private money. Projects can therefore match the money with, for example, lottery funding, a DEFRA grant or EU money. This means the £700m distributed by the scheme has levered-in further funding, totalling more than £2bn.”

Under the scheme, which is administered by the Government, landfill operators may claim a tax credit of 90% of a donation to an environmental body enrolled in the scheme.

The total credit claimed may not exceed 6.7% of their total annual landfill tax liability. The remaining 10% may be borne by the landfill operator itself, or a third party may make up the difference.

Sam Bond

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