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Local authorities across England have been set limits on the amount...
Local authorities across England have been set limits on the amount

of biodegradable municipal waste they can dispose of in landfill


Environment minister Elliot Morley today confirmed the final

allocation of landfill allowances for England's 121 waste disposal


Allocations have been set in advance of the launch of the Landfill

Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) on 1 April this year.

Mr Morley said: 'Government will be introducing the scheme to help

local authorities meet the tough new targets under the EU Landfill

Directive, to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste

going to landfill sites, in the most cost effective way.

'While the targets are challenging, this is an innovative approach

which gives authorities the flexibility to decide how and when to

make the necessary changes in the way they handle their waste, while

ensuring that England meets national and international obligations in

the most cost effective way,' he explained.

As such, waste disposal authorities will be able to trade their

allowances with other disposal authorities; selling allowances if

their waste has already been diverted to other disposal routes - for

example recycling - or buying allowances if they have no alternative

but to landfill more waste than their allocation of allowances

enables them to.

There will also be the chance to 'bank' for those who want to save

unused allowances or 'borrow' for those that want to bring forward

part of their future allocation.

Mr Morley added: 'Combined with existing waste targets, this scheme

will encourage the move away from landfill and towards more

sustainable waste management practices.'

The diversion of biodegradable municipal waste from landfill is a key

objective under the EU Landfill Directive. One tonne of biodegradable

waste - such as paper, card, textiles, kitchen and garden waste -

produces between 200 and 400m3 of landfill gas. Landfills released

25% of the UK's methane emissions in 2001, which represents 2% of the

world's total greenhouse gas emissions.

In the United Kingdom, by 2010, biodegradable municipal waste going

to landfill must be 75% of the amount produced in 1995; by 2013 this

is reduced to 50% and by 2020 to 35%.

The scheme should benefit councils such as Isle of Wight

Council, Windsor and Maidenhead BC and Dorset CC who have all taken the lead in by collecting, composting and recycling over a quarter of household waste produced in their area during 2002/03.

To assist local authorities in planning to meet their reduction

targets, Defra has also launched an electronic planning tool which

will help local authorities to integrate LATS with their waste

strategy and enable them to make the most effective use of the

flexibilities provided within the scheme.

The tool (known as M-BEAM) will been published shortly on the Waste

Implementation Programme (WIP), Local Authority Support Unit (LASU)

website at

In addition, Defra is planning a further series of seminars for local

authority officers, chief executives and councillors to ask any

questions they may have about the scheme and to discuss how it can

benefit them. The seminars will be held in March and further details

will be sent to all authorities shortly.


1. Article 5(2) of the EC Directive [1999/31/EC] on the landfill of

waste requires the UK:

* by 2006 to reduce the amount of BMW going to landfill to 75% of

that produced in 1995

* by 2009 to reduce the amount of BMW going to landfill to 50% of

that produced in 1995

* by 2016 to reduce the amount of BMW going to landfill to 35% of

that produced in 1995

The Directive allows member states which 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.

The allowances are allocated under the Waste and Emissions Trading

Act at a level that will enable England to meet its obligations, as a

contribution to the UK Landfill Directive targets.

2. Further information on the final allocation of landfill allowances

and the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme can be found here.

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