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Engineers warn of waste tax hike


WASTE DISPOSAL costs in the construction industry could soar under the government's new waste strategy, engineers warned this week.

'There are signals that the government is prepared to use price mechanisms such as raising landfill and aggregate taxes, ' said ICE Waste Board vice chair Peter Gerstrom.

'The biggest change for the construction industry is when we're made to incorporate a certain element of recycled material in projects, and there are levers in the new strategy to make this happen, ' he said.

The government is consulting on a new waste strategy for England. It wants to reduce waste going to landfill and tackle growing industrial and commercial waste streams.

Environment Agency chief executive Barbara Young has commended the construction industry for its progress so far (see interview page 13).

But Agency head of waste Martin Brocklehurst said that more can be done.

'The industry needs to start investing in the re-use of raw materials. This is happening in the cement industry. We need hard targets, ' he said.

Civil engineering contractors said they wanted tax penalties for landfill to be brought in gradually.

'We wouldn't be particularly happy to see increases in landfill and aggregate tax, ' said a Civil Engineering Contractors Association spokesman.

'But if this is what needs to happen to reduce waste then we wouldn't have a problem, so long as circumstances are taken into account and the taxes are enforced on a long term basis'.

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