Budget 2016: Packaging targets and landfill changes confirmed

The Treasury has confirmed that the packaging recycling target for plastics is to be reduced from its current level, whilst also outlining plans to press ahead with changes to the Landfill Communities Fund.

Measures affecting waste and recycling include:

  • Standard and lower rates of landfill tax to increase in line with RPI from April 2017 and April 2018.
  • Government to increase HMRC activity to tackle tax evasion across the waste supply chain.
  • HMRC to consult on definition of ‘taxable landfill disposal’.
  • Confirmation that landfill operators will be required to make greater contribution to Landfill Communities Fund from April 2016 – but option for third party contributions retained.
  • Packaging recycling target for plastics to be reduced to 49% for 2016, increasing 2% per year to 2020.
  • Glass packaging recycling target to remain static at 77%, and increase by 1% each year to 80%.
  • Petrol and diesel fuel duty frozen; Road User Levy and VED frozen on larger trucks and HGVs.

Chancellor George Osborne set out his Spring Budget in Parliament today (16 March), pledging a Budget that would deliver for the ‘next generation’. Among the headline measures outlined by the Chancellor are cuts in corporation tax to 17% by 2020 and reforms to business rates.

Packaging targets

Glass and plastic packaging targets are to be altered this year
Glass and plastic packaging recycling targets are to be altered this year

The Budget proposals also confirm the government’s plan to amend packaging recycling targets for plastic and glass. For plastic the existing target of 52% for 2016 will be reduced to 49%, increasing 2% each year to 2020, as anticipated. The target had been due to increase to 57% in 2017.

On glass, the government confirms that the existing target of 77% will be maintained until 2017, and then increase by 1% each year to 2020, when it will reach 80%.

According to the government, these changes will help to ‘reduce the burden on businesses’.

Landfill tax

Significant announcements within the Budget documents also come in the form of confirmation that landfill tax rates will increase in line with RPI, rounded to the nearest 5 pence, from 1 April 2017 and again from 1 April 2018.

Landfill tax rates are to increase in line with RPI up to April 2018
Landfill tax rates are to increase in line with RPI up to April 2018

The standard rate of landfill tax is due to rise from its current level of £82.60 per tonne to £84.40 per tonne from next month. This will then increase further to an expected rate of £86.10 per tonne in 2017 and £88.95 per tonne in 2018.

Also, the Treasury has confirmed that it is to increase compliance activity by HMRC to tackle tax evasion and non-compliance across the waste supply chaine.

The government, stated: “Waste-related crime is a blight on communities and undermines the environmental objectives of landfill tax. This is why HMRC and the Environment Agency are already working together to tackle fraud and tax evasion in the waste sector. The government will provide additional funding for HMRC to increase its compliance activity in this area.”

Waste sent to landfill Rate from 1 April 2016 Rate from 1 April 2017 Rate from 1 April 2018
Standard rated £84.40/tonne £86.10/tonne £88.95/tonne
Lower rated £2.65/tonne £2.70/tonne £2.80/tonne


Elsewhere, the Treasury has confirmed that it will seek to consult later this year on the definition of a ‘taxable landfill disposal’, with the intention of changing the definition within the Finance Bill 2017.

This change, it is claimed, will aim to ‘bring clarity and certainty’ to landfill tax rates, without affecting its intended scope – although further detail on the proposal has yet to be clarified.

Landfill Communities Fund

Changes to the Landfill Communities Fund have also been approved, with the Treasury outlining that the scheme’s regulator ENTRUST is to set out guidance shortly, detailing the requirment for landfill operators to make a greater contribution to the fund.

The Treasury has opted to taking £20 million from the fund from April per year, to be used to tackle waste crime.

However, the changes will not, as feared, remove the option for third party contributions, meaning that landfill operators will not be left with a shortfall in the millions of pounds to pay for community projects.


One response to “Budget 2016: Packaging targets and landfill changes confirmed

  1. I think it’s important not to just think of recycling as what we put into our wheelie bins as there are lots of different elements to recycling that I think people forget. If you’re reusing something or giving it a second use, a new lease of life in some way then you’re recycling. The Government should worker closer with companies such as LMB (http://www.lmb-supplies.co.uk/recycling.html) to encourage the recycling of the thousands of items of clothing that are not being used by British people, just sitting in wardrobes. These items could be used to clothe someone less fortunate or even become a rag to be used somewhere else.

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