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England risks missing EU landfill targets

England has been too slow in reducing waste sent to landfill and is at risk of being fined by the EU, according to a new report.

Department for Environment, Food and RuralAffairs: Managing the waste PFI programme published by the National Audit Office today accuses Defra of being too slow to respond to a 1999 EU Directive setting Member States a timescale for reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

It added that few new PFI waste facilities are being built and local authorities have experienced delays in completing deals and bringing the projects into operation.

National Audit Office Tim Burr said: "Defra is doing a lot to accelerate the programme of new waste treatment facilities being procured through private finance. But, at the rate at which projects are being delivered, England is at risk of missing the 2013 EU landfill reduction target, leaving the UK open to the possibility of fines.

"The Department will need to work hard with local authorities to achieve the planned programme of new waste treatment facilities, particularly now when private finance is difficult to raise."

The report warned that if the EU target is missed because new PFI projects coming into operation are delayed, the resulting EU fines could run into several hundred millions of pounds.

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