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A report issued this week by parliament's spending watchdog has revealed that there is a significant risk that loca...
A report issued this week by parliament's spending watchdog has revealed that there is a significant risk that local authorities in England will fail to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste sent to landfill by enough for the UK to meet EU targets.

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The government intends to penalise local authorities who fail to make their share of the required reductions under Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) - a scheme introduced by government to help Local Authorities comply with meeting their obligations under the EU Landfill Directive.

Kent CC is well placed to meet the LATS targets and collectively the Kent local authorities aim to achieve a target of 40% recycling and composting of household waste by 2012/13.

Tunbridge Wells BC is ensuring that it is doing its bit to help achieve this target through its brown bin and green box service and recycling sites across the borough.

John Cunningham, portfolio holder for environment, comments:

'We're very grateful to all residents in our borough who, through their efforts to reduce their waste and increase their recycling have helped us to recycle and compost over 44% of the household waste collected in first quarter of this year. This is well above the national average and makes us the second best authority for recycling in Kent and amongst the top ten in the country.

'We have seen a sharp rise in glass recycling up by 21.5% (nearly 100 tonnes) and a 19% (just under 550 tonnes) increase in the amount of waste that is being composted which partly due to the completion of the Brown Bin roll out earlier this year and the recent change to the system to allow the inclusion of all kitchen waste and cooked food. In response to calls from local residents a pilot plastic bottle recycling scheme has also been introduced this year at a number of the borough council's recycling sites. It is incredibly well used; please remember to put the lids in separately and to crush your bottles so that we can get more in the banks.

'We'd like to say a very big thank you to our residents that are recycling and would urge them to please continue to reduce their waste and to recycle whenever possible and encourage others to do the same.'


1. In 1999, the EU introduced the Landfill Directive, requiring the UK to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste sent to landfill to 75% of the 1995 figure by 2010, 50% by 2013 and 35% by 2020. This is equivalent to reducing landfilled waste to about 14 million tonnes by 2010 and nine million tonnes by 2013. The majority of the reductions required to meet these targets come from England. Municipal waste covers household waste, street litter and collected trade waste. Defra estimates that individual households produce some 1,200 kg of waste a year on average. Around 68% of municipal waste is biodegradable, such as vegetation, waste paper, food or card.

2. In 2003-04, the UK disposed of some 26 million tonnes of local authority waste by landfill, 75% of the total. This compares with 38% in France and 20% in Germany and was higher than all other EU countries apart from Greece (92%) and Portugal (also 75%).

3. Under the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme, introduced in 2005, local authorities operate within an allocation of the amount of biodegradable municipal waste they can send to landfill. The Scheme allows authorities to trade allowances if they have excess or insufficient capacity. Defra has confirmed it will penalise each local authority responsible for waste disposal (Kent CC)£150 for every tonne of biodegradable waste sent to landfill in excess of its allowance.

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