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Fact Box: Waste Crisis

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Waste by numbers

  • England produces around 29 million tonnes of municipal waste each year.

  • It costs a local authority between£80 and£100 to incinerate a tonne of rubbish. Recycling can be done for less than that according to the Waste & Resources Action Programme.

  • There are 121 waste disposal authorities in the country.

  • Incinerators cost at least£20m and take around a decade to build.

  • Many councils are entering into private finance initiative waste disposal contracts that will last 25 years or more.

Waste targets, fines and charges


  • The EU Landfill Directive stipulates that the UK must reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste landfill to 75%, 50% and 35% of its 1995 level by 2010, 2013 and 2020 respectively.

Charges and fines

  • Landfill tax is currently£32 a tonne of waste, but will rise to£48 a tonne of waste by 2010.

  • Councils will be hit with a bill up to£7m if they miss EU targets from 2013.

  • If waste projects already planned are delayed by just two years, England will exceed its landfill allocation by 13% and will face a£140m fine, according to the Audit Commission.

  • The Local Government Association claims that the government will collect£1.5bn in landfill tax over the next three years.

See also

Inflamed over the waste crisis

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