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Waste growth threatens landfill reduction target

RISING LEVELS of municipal waste and weak government guidance mean Britain will miss European Union (EU) targets for reducing waste sent to landfill, MPs warned last week.

The EU Landfill Directive requires the UK to cut volumes of municipal waste sent to landfill sites by 65% by 2015.

In 2000 the government's Waste Strategy set out plans to recycle or compost 33% of municipal waste in an attempt to meet targets in the directive.

But municipal waste is growing at an average annual rate of 3.4%, and alternatives to landfill, especially recycling, are failing to keep pace, says a report produced by parliament's environmental audit select committee.

The committee predicts local authorities will fall far short of the 65% waste reduction target.

It also anticipates that there will be a scramble for the next easiest disposal option after landfill - incineration - as the 2015 deadline approaches.

'There is a danger that the waste strategy becomes a charter for incineration, ' warned committee member John Horam.

'Inadequate funding and lack of clear government guidance have made it harder for local authorities to reach the targets they have been set, ' says the report.

'We are extremely concerned that the measures taken to date do not reflect the urgency of the need for improvement.'

The report also points out that the international Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development has criticised UK guidance on waste minimisation as 'very weak'.


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