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Low landfill tax discourages better processing development, MPs told

HAZARDOUS WASTE processing firms have no incentive to develop better treatment and recycling facilities because landfill taxes are too low, a leading waste company told MPs last month.

As a result hazardous waste producers such as the construction industry are continuing to use landfill sites, said Shanks chief executive Michael Averill.

Averill was giving evidence to the House of Commons hazardous waste sub-committee. He said low tax rates encouraged waste producers to use cheap landfill sites instead of exploring innovative but more capitalintensive waste treatment.

Averill said Britain's £4bn waste management industry could treble in size if demand for European waste treatment and recycling technologies was encouraged in the UK.

Technologies developed in continental Europe - where landfill taxes are higher - include a high temperature contaminated soil cleaner that removes oil and reuses it as fuel.

The Chemical Industries Association (CIA) also told the committee that waste producers would be forced to innovate eventually as landfill capacity fell.

European directives that come into force in July will lead to fewer waste firms willing to take on hazardous waste, said the CIA.

It is feared the directives will set tougher standards for dealing with hazardous waste. The CIA warned MPs that the number of hazardous waste landfill sites could drop from 350 to 35.

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