Rogue waste operators handling waste illegally will have to pay landfill tax from 1 April, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has announced.
The UK Government is extending the scope of its landfill tax to cover disposals made at sites without an environmental disposal permit.
It is estimated that around 600 illegal sites are operating in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. In 2016, 110 businesses and individuals were prosecuted by the Environment Agency for offenses related to illegal waste sites. HMRC says that extending the scope of landfill tax builds on action the Environmental Agency is already taking to shut down these sites due to the harm they cause to the environment, by removing the financial incentive to set them up in the first place.
This action will also ensure that honest businesses in the industry who pay the tax they owe are not disadvantaged by unfair competition.
The draft legislation has been published for technical consultation ahead of the introduction in the Finance Bill later this year. The consultation period will be open for six weeks, closing on 25 October and businesses and individuals are encouraged to give their views to ensure that the legislation works as intended.
Andrew Jones, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury said: “Illegal waste sites are a blight on communities and undermine legitimate landfill operators. We have listened carefully to concerns raised by businesses and local communities and we are taking action to tackle this crime.”
HMRC will be able to prosecute these illegal operators where necessary, who could face large fines and risk a sentence of up to 7 years in prison.
HMRC’s Director General for Customer Strategy & Tax Design, Jim Harra, said: “These rules will go a long way to clamping down on the use of illegal waste sites, strengthening existing work in this area led by the Environment Agency.
“The impact of these illegal sites on landowners and the environment can be significant. By making the illegal disposal of waste taxable, we will deter the spread of this damaging activity by making it less profitable and reinforce the principle of ‘the polluter pays’.”
Clarity Environmental Managing Director, David Adams, added that legitimate businesses can work together to ensure it doesn’t pay to operate outside of the law: “Waste crime costs businesses and taxpayers, and puts a blight on our countryside. But it is also seriously undermining the reputation of our industry and we welcome any measures that help to tackle rogue operators.
“We work with waste companies across the country, and have developed strict procedures to ensure we exercise due diligence when setting up our new offtake agreements. Our extensive audits and specialist consultant advice ensure that those we choose to do business with are working within the same legal and ethical boundaries. Our procedures may sometimes mean we reject the route that leads to the biggest short-term profit, but it is important that legitimate businesses work together reducing the opportunities available for illegal operators to do business.”
If you have large amounts of waste that you want to divert from landfill, we can provide a sustainable and ethical option that will also reduce your disposal costs. We are a leading supplier of feedstock to energy from waste plants, helping to divert commercial, industrial, construction and demolition waste from landfill and converting it into useable fuel sources. Contact our team on 0845 129 7177 to find out how we can help.