18 December 2019 by Joshua Doherty

Case ‘dismissed’ against Dutch RDF tax

First reports coming from the Netherlands have suggested that a legal challenge against the €31 per tonne RDF tax has been dismissed.

Dutch waste management firm Attero launched the challenge with AVR (Afvalverwerking), one of the largest energy from waste (EfW) companies in the Netherlands.

The case against the Dutch government’s RDF tax was dismissed, one day after the Senate ratified the proposals in the Dutch Parliament

The challenge aimed to delay the tax – which was ratified by the Dutch Senate yesterday (see letsrecycle.com story) – to April 2020 at the earliest.

However, this appears to have been dismissed this afternoon at the Court in Den Haag (The Hague), and the tax now looks likely to go ahead as planned on 1 January 2020.

In a statement to letsrecycle.com this morning, before today’s hearing, Robert Corijn, chair of the RDF Industry Group said: “We are very disappointed that the Dutch government has approved a plan which will force waste down the hierarchy into landfill in the UK and the Republic of Ireland, and will thus increase overall emissions from waste management by more than ten times.”

He added: “We are especially concerned that the Dutch government has not conducted a full impact assessment of this policy, and are supportive of the motion also passed yesterday in the Dutch parliament that will ensure it has to monitor the effect of the tax.”

Costly

UK exporters to the Netherlands now face the challenge of a more costly market. Some of the Dutch plants may absorb part of the tax but prices look likely to rise. However, they may still be short of the UK landfill price although these could rise slightly as a consequence.

However, one expert suggested that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is expected to take note of the fact that the Dutch government had argued that due to the UK Climate Change Act 2008, the British government will not allow more landfilling to take place and for more CO2-emissions to occur.

Nevertheless, UK officials have been planning for the potential extra use of landfill because of the separate issue of Brexit and the possible delay to traffic it might bring.

Alternatives

One possible way of not having to pay the tax, which is thought to have been suggested by the Dutch government, would be to recycle the material in a ‘dirty MRF’, although exactly how this would work has not been confirmed.

Tax

Some 14% of its residual waste from the UK is exported overseas in the form of Refuse Derived Fuel for energy recovery, with almost half going to the Netherlands.

  •  Attero is expected to appeal the court ruling.
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