In a letter addressed to environment secretary Caroline Spelman and communities secretary Eric Pickles, a coalition of skip hire and waste transfer station operators have vented their frustrations over an announcement from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to introduce higher taxation for disposal of certain materials.

The letter follows a protest by skip hire trucks on Parliament last week, which brought traffic to a standstill for several hours. It calls for the Government to take urgent measures to prevent what one operator slams as a “disgraceful” situation with “horrendous” implications for the industry.

Waste firms want to see the changes put on ice for six months while a formal consultation takes place between industry and HMRC, Defra, BIS and DCLG representatives.

They are also calling for a working group to be set up as part of the consultation exercise with transitional arrangements to ‘phase in’ any increase in landfill tax for inert materials.

The letter states: “Waste management and recycling companies who produce this residual material (following recovery of recyclable materials from the waste streams they process), have entered into price agreements with their own customers which cannot possibly be varied to take account of such a price increase overnight.

“The fact that such an increase has been effectively imposed, without notice, on waste transfer and recycling companies means that those companies could face financial ruin as their own customers will simply not pay such an increase at such impossibly short notice.”

Some of the companies who have signed the letter include Powerday, Brewsters Waste Management, RTS Waste Management, Easy Load, Heard Demolition, Sharps Brothers Skip and Hollywell Haulage.

Meanwhile a petition slamming the HMRC’s decision as the “final nail in the coffin” for skip hire and waste transfer operators has been set up by PAWRS, the plant and waste recycling show.

It accuses HMRC of introducing the bill “without thinking of the consequences” and argues that it will result in “more fly tipping, more unemployment and less taxes for the Government due to companies going out of business”.

One operator who has signed the petition said it was an “obscene hike … smacks of desperation and a lack of respect for this sector by the government.”

Maxine Perella

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