3 September 2019 by Will Date

Dutch RDF import tax expected despite lobbying

Dutch ministers are expected to press ahead with plans to implement a €32-per-tonne tax on the import of waste into the country for incineration, despite lobbying from UK exporters and Dutch waste businesses who want the measure dropped.

Exporters of refuse derived fuel (RDF), represented by the UK-based RDF Industry Group, today urged the Dutch government to reconsider its plans to tax the import of waste for incineration from 1 January 2020.

RDF exporters have called for a rethink on proposals by the Dutch government to tax waste imported into the country for incineration

The tax was unveiled in July as part of a package of measures to address climate change It is expected to increase the cost of residual waste treatment for local authorities and businesses from the UK who use incineration plants in the Netherlands to dispose of waste (see letsrecycle.com story).  And, it is also likely to push up price for landfill in parts of the UK where residual treatment capacity is under pressure.

CO2

The RDF Industry Group, in a briefing document ahead of a meeting of the Dutch Parliament’s Commission on Climate and Energy tomorrow (4 September), questions the benefit of the tax in reducing CO2 emissions.

RDF Industry Group’s briefing argues that the tax would create a disincentive for RDF exporters to send material to energy from waste plants in the Netherlands and will lead to an increase in the landfill of waste elsewhere in the continent.

“The tax will also result in waste being diverted down the waste hierarchy – from recovery to disposal,” the group suggests, adding that Dutch energy recovery facilities may struggle to reach full capacity as a result of the tax.

“Reducing the feedstock available to Dutch energy-from-waste facilities will increase competition for residual waste, and any potential reduction of gate fees as a result of this would only serve to undermine the economics of recycling.”

Robert Corijn, RDF Industry Group

Robert Corijn, chair of the RDF Industry Group and marketing manager at Attero B.V. said: “It is not effective for the Dutch government to be undermining wider attempts to reduce carbon emissions by not taking into account the significant leakage effects that the proposed waste import tax will have. There are European-wide targets for carbon reduction and the perverse effects of diverting waste from combined heat and power to landfill is of major concern for those nations which export waste.

“We are also concerned about the wider negative impacts of the proposed tax. Reducing the feedstock available to Dutch energy-from-waste facilities will increase competition for residual waste, and any potential reduction of gate fees as a result of this would only serve to undermine the economics of recycling. If Dutch facilities have to bear the cost of this tax, then this will put jobs on the line and facilities at risk of unnecessary closure.”

Debate

Although the Parliament’s Commission on Climate and Energy is meeting tomorrow, it is not thought that the tax will be discussed.

The proposals go before the Dutch Parliament this month

A spokesman for the Dutch Government’s Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, told letsrecycle.com that it is still expected that the plans will form a part of the future tax package, which is to be presented to the Parliament in The Hague later this month.

Dutch ministers see the introduction of a tax on the import of waste for incineration as an extension of an existing tax on domestic waste for incineration, which also stands at €32 per tonne.

Cabinet plans for taxation measures, including the extension of the tax on waste from 1 January 2020, will be presented before the Parliament by King Willem-Alexander on Prinsjesdag – Prince’s Day – where the Dutch government’s full legislative programme is set out.


RDF Conference

This year’s RDF conference, organised by letsrecycle.com and the RDF Industry Group will be held on 28 November 2019. More details here.

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