Local authorities in England have as a group met their EU landfill targets for 2006/07, according to the latest Environment Agency report. But there is no room for complacency as future targets are more stringent.
The report on the second year of the Landfill Allowances and Trading Scheme (LATS) shows that waste authorities landfilled 20.5% less than their allocated allowance this year. This means that 11.5M tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) was landfilled, against a 17.3M tonnes limit.
To achieve this result some authorities have under cut their targets and then 'sold' their allowance to authorities that have over produced. East Sussex is one of the over producers with an allowance deficit of 13,400 tonnes or 11% more than its allowance.
It is not clear whether this figure includes waste foisted on East Sussex by London. Ken Livingstone has been campaigning for London to deal with its own waste and he was recently quoted in the Argus saying that the waste handled by private commercial operators disappeared from the official figures.
Under LATS, by 2010 England must reduce the amount of BMW going to landfill to 75% of 1995 levels. The targets are 50% by 2013 and 35% by 2020.
To achieve the 2010 target, England will have to reduce the amount of BMW going to landfill by nearly 350,000 tonnes, which the report suggests is achievable on current performance. But councils will need to do more to ensure the 2013 and 2020 targets are met, by diverting more BMW from landfill or reducing the amount of municipal waste produced - or both.
Read related items on: