Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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29 August 2003
CONSULTATION ON THE LANDFILL ALLOWANCE TRADING SCHEME
Defra today launched a consultation on its detailed proposals for the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme for local authorities in England.
The scheme is the first of its kind in Europe and subject to this consultation, is scheduled to start during 2004.
It implements England's contribution to the UK targets in Article 5(2) of the EU Landfill Directive for reducing the amount of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) sent to landfill. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also be introducing allowance trading schemes and will be consulting separately on their schemes.
The focus in England will be on waste disposal authorities, which are responsible for the disposal of municipal waste in their area. Each authority will be allocated tonnage allowances, which set a limit on the amount of biodegradable municipal waste which may be landfilled each year and which will reduce progressively until 2020.
The scheme is designed to give local authorities as much flexibility as possible, whilst still ensuring that England meets its targets. Waste disposal authorities will be able to trade their allowances with other disposal authorities. For example, if a council, with a 100 tonne allowance to landfill, only needed to landfill 50 tonnes, it could sell the balance of allowances for the market rate to another council that needed to landfill more than its allowance capacity.
Trading will help individual waste disposal authorities to find the most cost-effective way of diverting waste from landfill to reflect their local circumstances. Waste disposal authorities with low landfill diversion costs (cost of sending waste to incineration, recycling or composting) will have an incentive to divert as much BMW from landfill as possible and sell their surplus allowances to waste disposal authorities that face higher costs of diversion.
Waste disposal authorities will also be able to save unused allowances (bank) or bring forward part of their future allocation (borrow). All these flexibilities will allow local authorities to plan the most cost-effective way to reduce their rate of landfilling.
The consultation will be seeking views on a number of aspects of the scheme administration including start dates, the method for calculating and allocating allowances, when to review the scheme, the penalty system and aspects of monitoring.
The consultation will run for twelve weeks, ending on Friday 21 November. Draft scheme regulations will be published in early October and views on these regulations will also be sought. Government will publish its response to the consultation.
Notes for editors
1. Article 5(2) of the EC Directive [1999/31/EC] on the landfill of waste requires the UK:
The Directive allows member states that landfilled over 80% of their municipal waste in 1995 to postpone the targets by up to four years. The Government intends to use this four-year derogation, making the target dates for the UK 2010, 2013 and 2020.
2. The legal framework for the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme is the Waste and Emissions Trading Bill (House of Lords) which is currently waiting for Report stage in the House of Commons.
3. The consultation paper, partial Regulatory Impact Assessment and Regulations (when published) can be found at: www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/landfill/index.htm
Responses to the consultation should be sent by e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org, fax 020 7944 6409 or by post to Landfill Policy Team, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Zone 7/E9, Ashdown House, 123 Victoria Street, London SW1E 6DE.
Public Enquiries: 08459 335577
Press Notices available via Defra website
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