The tax, originally introduced by the Conservative environment minister Lord Gummer in 1996, aims to force local authorities to recycle by making the cost of landfilling prohibitive.

From today the tax is now £56 a tonne and will continue to rise by £8 a year until at least 2014 after measure brought in by the coalition government in its first emergency budget.

Environment minister Caroline Spelman, earlier this year, said: “The landfill tax has been an important factor, and will continue to be – not only in reducing landfill – but in achieving recognition that what we call waste is actually a resource and a valuable one too.

“It’s the awareness of this value that we need to build on as we create our new leaner, greener economy.

“Because if getting to grips with our problem is one of our biggest challenges, it also provides some of our biggest opportunities – using resources more efficiently and helping create the new green jobs of the future.

“This green Government will help deliver the green jobs, the green technologies and the greener economy we must achieve to ensure a future that is both secure and sustainable.”

Luke Walsh

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