Landfill tax changes on fines increase skip hire prices

HMRC’s recent ruling that fines from transfer stations and also waste materials used to cover landfill sites will be subject to the full £64 per tonne landfill tax rate rather than £2.50 (see letsrecycle.com story) has increased skip hire rates substantially and looks set to put several skip operators and waste processing sites out of business.

Landfill Tax Change

Skip lorries protest outside Westminster

Whilst I agree we need to improve how waste is processed and clamp down on waste facilities that are more focused on exploiting tax loopholes than they are in diverting waste from landfill, surely these changes should have been introduced in a more phased and coordinated manner rather than overnight?

Here are just some of the consequences of the changes:

  • increased costs for landfill site operators – because they’ll have to use other materials to cover their sites, because transfer stations will reduce the amount of fines being produced to avoid the landfill tax
  • increased unemployment – as skip companies and transfer stations struggle to adapt their operations to cope with the changes
  • increased skip hire charges – due to less disposal sites and higher on average commercial gate rates
  • increased fly tipping – due to dramatically higher skip charges
  • reduced landfill diversion rates – because waste materials which were previously classified as recovered will now be classified as landfill

The net effect of all this is that consumers, companies, and particularly the construction industry will be picking up the bill. How can this be good for a country in recession?

Photo credit: ITV News

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