LANDFILL tax for Scarborough could almost double in three years unless residents improve recycling rates according to a new survey by the GMB union – which counts refuse staff among its membership.
Neighbouring Ryedale District topped the poll for 22 local authorities in the Yorkshire and Humber region – with a recycling, reuse or composting rate of 51.9 per cent – while Scarborough Council was rated 11th best with 39.5 per cent of waste being kept out of landfill sites.
Landfill Tax was designed to encourage recycling and is due to rise very sharply over the next three years from the current charge of £48 per tonne to £80 per tonne by 2014.
According to the figures Scarborough sent 27,271 tonnes of waste to landfill between April 2009 and March 2010 and, based on the current rate of landfill tax of £48 per tonne, would equal £1,308,991 if it was all sent to landfill.
But this is set to rocket to a whopping £2,181,651 in 2014 unless percentages improve – and the total would rise to more than £130 million for the whole region in 2014 compared with more than £78 million at the 2010 rate.
Harry Briggs, the council’s recycling and waste enforcement manager, said the authority was still aiming to reach a 50 per cent recycling rate and, according to Waste and Resources Action Programme’s (WRAP) performance monitoring figures, Scarborough was in the top 50 per cent of all local authorities in the UK – and in the top 25 per cent for coastal and countryside Councils.
He added: “We are working hard to increase our recycling efforts with notable new initiatives such as the introduction of mixed plastics and drinks cartons to the blue bin, we’ve also implemented free kerbside electrical collections through a partnership with RB Markets.
“We are also working on rolling out more on-street recycling for plastics and cans with our long-term aspiration being to collect glass in the blue bin.”
Tim Roache, the GMB Regional Secretary for the Yorkshire Region, said: “Dumping waste in landfill sites is not only bad for the environment – it’s also increasingly uneconomic.
“Landfill Tax, designed to encourage recycling, is due to rise very sharply over the next three years from the current £48 per tonne to £80 per tonne by 2014 and that’s why recycling has to be the order of the day.
“At the moment the bill is around £1 billion per annum charged on households through the council tax and the total cost including landfill site fees is double that.
“The GMB’s data shows that some councils are recycling a good proportion of their waste and therefore paying relatively little landfill tax. However there are huge variations between the best and the worst with no obvious explanation for these differences, although some councils use incineration facilities which are slightly cheaper than paying for landfill.
“Unless councils make a concerted effort to improve recycling rates the landfill tax bill is set to rise by around £670 million per annum taking the total cost of landfill to over £3 billion per annum.
“As things stand, those households under the poorest performing councils will carry the brunt of that. The message is that improving recycling is not only right for the environment but it will save money off council tax.”
The next best authority, after Ryedale, was North Lincolnshire with a recycling rate of 51.4 per cent, followed by Hambleton at 45.6 per cent, North Yorkshire County Council at 44.3 per cent, York City Council at 43.3 per cent and Richmondshire at 43 per cent.
At the other end of the league was Sheffield City Council where only 27.5 per cent of household waste was sent for re-use, recycling, or composting and the second bottom of the league was Bradford with a 29.5 per cent rate and Kirklees was the third worst with a rate of 31.1 per cent.