Prime minister warns of incineration tax if recycling rates missed

According to a recent article published on the MRW website, Theresa May has warned during questions at the House of Commons that a tax on incineration may be introduced if waste and recycling targets are not met.

May said the tax would work in conjunction with the landfill tax. But she added that energy-from-waste plants “play, and continue to play, an important role in reducing the rubbish sent to landfill”.

Conservative MP Andrew Murrison asked whether “a moratorium would be put on new incinerator, gasification and pyrolysis applications, including the one in Westbury” – which is his constituency. He said the move would strengthen the Government’s bid to host the 2020 UN Climate Change conference.

May said: “The issue of incineration I understand is a crucial one, particularly for certain locations…We do want to maximise the amount of waste that is sent to recycling rather than to incineration and landfill.

“We welcome work to drive down waste to landfill further but, if wider policies don’t deliver our waste ambitions in the future – including those higher recycling rates – then we will consider the introduction of a tax on the incineration of waste, and this would operate in conjunction with the landfill tax and take into account the possible impact on local authorities.”

Guy Cherry, Managing Director at GPT Waste said:

“This feels like a backwards step, penalising alternative energy production and at a time when recyclable material take off is at a low point and fly tipping is on the increase; taxing the alternative solution is naive and begs the question where is waste then supposed to go?”

“Successive governments have done little to embrace the waste culture in the UK, but are happy to point to what shouldn’t be done; this proposed tax is yet another example of that.”

The possibility of a tax was mooted by Defra in its resources and waste strategy, depending on recycling rates.

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