Landfill tax protest descends on parliament

Skip hire firms parked their vehicles outside Parliament today (May 24) in protest against controversial landfill tax changes which sent disposal costs for certain materials rocketing overnight.

The protest which took place this morning involved around 50 recycling vehicles and lasted several hours – the police had to be called in to break up the rally.

Waste operators involved in the protest are furious over a decision made last week by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to change the rules governing the levy on fines from trommels and screens, and waste which is used to cover landfill cells before they are capped.

Previously fines were charged at the lower landfill tax rate of £2.50 for inert material, but will now be charged the full rate of £64 a tonne for active material. In addition, landfill cover material known as ‘fluff’ which did not incur any levy before will now be taxable at the full rate.

This has sent shockwaves through the industry by effectively hiking up disposal costs for those materials by over 2,000% – a move that could threaten to put some waste firms out of business. Concerns are also mounting that it could lead to a surge in illegal fly-tipping.

One source told edie that the issue was “quite subtle” as some within the industry had sought clarification from HMRC regarding non-inert fines – a move which appears to have backfired in light of HMRC’s decision to apply the higher tax rate.

“I think it’s an unintended consequence as a result of the lack of consultation before making the change,” the source said.

Maxine Perella

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