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Friday, January 22, 2016

County explains landfill spending position

The amount spent by Welsh councils on landfill has fallen by more than 23% in the last four years, according to figures obtained by BBC Wales this week.

The total weight of landfill has dropped from 641,000 tonnes in 2012/13 to 450,000 tonnes in 2014/15 - a 30% fall in three years.

But while most councils’ spending on landfill went down, Denbighshire’s rose by seven per cent, from £1,324,000 in 2011-12 to £1,424,000 in 2014-15.

Alan L Roberts, the county council’s senior technical officer (waste), said: “The bottom line is that it isn’t a very good measure statistically and it is quite a complex issue. The main thing though is that the 22 Welsh local authorities were starting from different positions.

“ In 2011 Denbighshire recorded a recycling rate of 57%. This was the highest in Wales and so Denbighshire was already landfilling relatively little of its waste, so the county reduced its landfill costs by recycling at high levels before the BBC survey period commenced.

“ By April 2011, Denbighshire had procured some of the lowest landfill disposal costs of all the 22 Welsh local authorities which again means these cost reductions are not included within the BBC survey period.
“In April 2011, the standard rate of Landfill Tax increased to £56 per tonne, the rate currently stands at £82.60 per tonne showing how the unit costs of landfill have increased substantially during the survey period, i.e. there was a very significant upward pressure on landfill costs over the period.
“ The way councils disposed of non-recyclable rubbish during the survey period changed substantially. In 2011, Denbighshire sent 100% of its non-recyclable rubbish to landfill but by 2015 this had changed and only around 50% was sent to landfill; the other 50% was incinerated. Other councils, with suitable facilities available locally, are able to send 100% of their non-recyclable rubbish for disposal by alternative means.”
He added: “Whether it is landfilled or incinerated, there is still a significant cost of disposing of non-recyclable rubbish but the BBC survey centred solely on landfill.
“Councils that the BBC found have reduced their landfill bill between 2011 and 2015 will still be paying to have waste incinerated or treated by other means.
“The BBC survey shows that the Landfill Tax, which will soon become one of the taxes for which the Welsh Government will assume control, is still a massive financial burden on councils despite greatly reduced quantities of waste being sent to landfill.”

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