Wales smashes landfill reduction targets

Welsh councils have smashed targets for reducing the amount of waste they send to landfills reaching the 2010 mark a year early.

The news is a welcome turn around for Wales as in 2008 only 11 local authorities were on track to meet the 2010 targets.

Figures released last Tuesday (1 September) show all local authorities in Wales achieved 2010 targets to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Defra set targets in 1999 for local authorities to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste, such as paper, cardboard and kitchen scraps.

The targets are part of the Uk’s drive to meet Europe wide landfill cutting targets, that will result in heavy fines for authorties who send too much waste to landfill.

All councils in the UK are under pressure to reduce the amount they dump under the Landfill Allowance Scheme, which means the amount of biodegradable waste landfilled by 2010 must be cut by 75% of 1995 levels.

The cuts need to continue with the amount of biodegradable waste slashed by 50% by 2013 and 35% by 2020.

Wales is now 16% (110,297 tonnes) below the first Landfill Directive target year allowance in 2009 to 2010, according to a report by the Environment Agency.

Welsh environment minister, Jane Davidson, said: “These new figures are great news and show how councils are making significant progress in changing the way we deal with our waste.

“Every Welsh local authority has now met this first EU target a year early, this is an excellent achievement and I want to congratulate all of them for all their hard work and commitment.

“The idea we can simply bury waste in the ground and leave it rot is from another era, to protect this beautiful country for future generations we need to recycle as much as possible.

The EA report highlights how councils in Wales sent 599,703 tonnes of biodegradable waste to landfill in 2008/9, compared to the landfill allowance allocation of 788,000 tonnes, showing a reduction of 154,879 tonnes of biodegradable waste landfilled across Wales over the past two years.

Luke Walsh

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