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Low landfill tax hampers hazardous waste treatment

HAZARDOUS WASTE producers have no incentive to develop better treatment and recycling facilities because landfill taxes are too low, a leading waste company told MPs this week.

Giving evidence to the cross party Commons Hazardous Waste Sub-Committee, Shanks chief executive Michael Averill said that low tax rates have encouraged waste producers in the construction industry to use cheap landfill sites instead of exploring innovative but more capital intensive treatment.

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

Taxes are higher elsewhere in Europe and technologies include a high temperature contaminated soil cleaner that removes oil and re-uses it as fuel.

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

New European directives coming into force in July set tougher standards for dealing with hazardous waste. It is feared that fewer firms will be willing to take on hazardous waste, said the CIA, warning MPs that the number of hazardous waste landfill sites could drop from 350 to 35.

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