Higher landfill tax for recycling residue

30th May 2012

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Waste ,
  • Disposal ,
  • Recycling ,
  • Business & Industry ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management



The fine soil-like waste left over from waste treatment and recovery activities does not qualify for the lower rate of landfill tax even if it is inert, the HMRC has confirmed

Since the introduction of the Landfill Tax (Qualifying Material) Order 2011, which defines materials eligible for the lower tax rate, there have been differing interpretations as to how to classify the residual waste transferred to landfill from recycling and recovery plants.

In a new briefing note clarifying landfill tax rules, the HMRC states that as it is impossible to identify exactly what is in such waste, it cannot be classified as eligible for the lower rate and that all waste sent to landfill from waste transfer stations should be taxed at the standard tax rate, now £64 per tonne, rather than the lower rate of just £2.50 per tonne.

The HMRC’s announcement was followed by protests in London, with skip hire companies using lorries to block Parliament Square. The protesting firms warned that the massive cost increases would ultimately be seen as a tax on recycling.

However, others welcomed the news, including SITA UK’s chief executive David Palmer-Jones who said: "This has been a grey area, which I know some companies have exploited to great commercial effect.”

Waste industry trade body the Environmental Services Association (ESA) said it was right that the HMRC had clarified the situation.

“There had been too much confusion in the past about what rate of landfill tax applied to the residue from some recycling operations,” said Matthew Farrow, ESA director of policy. “The clarification is not a ‘recycling tax’, but about trying to ensure that material that is landfilled is categorised in the right way.”

However, the ESA said it will be looking to the HMRC to consider what provision could be made for companies with “genuinely inert materials” to ensure they are paying the “correct rate” of landfill tax.

The HMRC also clarified that waste used in layers by landfill owners to prevent damage to drainage liners or materials capping disposal sites are also subject to landfill tax. The briefing makes clear that the HMRC does not consider such action as a “use” of materials and exempt from the tax, as had been the case for the some of these “regulatory” layers before the Landfill Tax (Prescribed Landfill Site Activities) Order 2009.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Weather damage insurance claims hit record high

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Vanessa Champion reveals how biophilic design can help you meet your environmental, social and governance goals

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

A project promoter’s perspective on the environmental challenges facing new subsea power cables

3rd April 2024

Read more

Senior consultant, EcoAct

3rd April 2024

Read more

Around 20% of the plastic recycled is polypropylene, but the diversity of products it protects has prevented safe reprocessing back into food packaging. Until now. David Burrows reports

3rd April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close