12 January 2021 by Joshua Doherty

‘Incineration tax’ could hit Leicestershire budget

Leicestershire county council has said it is considering how a “tax on incineration” could impact its waste budget over the next four years.  

The report examines various factors which could impact the council’s waste budget

This comes as the council has detailed how its medium term financial strategy, set out in December 2020, will impact its waste and recycling operations.

In a report which will go before the council’s environment and transport department on Thursday (14 January), the council said a 3.2% increase in household waste volumes due to “increased working from home and unemployment due to recession” will lead to increased costs of £1.1 million in 2021/22.

Tax

Another factor which it said will impact its waste operations in the coming years is legislation from the resources and waste strategy, including “a tax on waste incineration”.

“It is expected that it will become a requirement for local authorities to offer weekly food waste collections, offer free collection for green waste and that a tax could be levied on waste incineration,” the report said.

It added: “ Whilst there is no detail of any timeline for the latter the government has made its ambition clear to start the changes and other potential impacts arising from the Strategy. There will be ongoing consultation and engagement.”

Recycling

The council says it has recorded a recycling rate of “just above 45% for most of 2019-20”, while municipal waste sent to landfill fell from  33.8% 2018/19 to 32.2% in 2019/20.

The remainder is sent to the Coventry energy from waste facility.

In 2010, the council abandoned the procurement of a £685 million long-term residual waste treatment project when it said PFI support was withdrawn.

It had a contract to send some residual waste to New Earth Solutions’ Cotesbach MBT facility, before it went into administration. It added that it is continuing to see  higher levels of waste send to landfill “in part due to the failure of the Cotesbach Mechanical Biological Treatment facility”.

Budget

The council said it expects to deliver £590,000 of savings to its waste budget of £26 million in 2021/22, rising to £1.56 million in 2024/25. This includes £120,000 a year of savings by 2023/24 by insourcing its Whetstone household waste and recycling centre, and increasing income from the sale of items for reuse collected.

Leicestershire says insourcing its Whetstone HWRC will deliver £120,000 of savings

The council recorded a further saving of £430,000 by 2023/24 through renegotiating its waste wood contract.

“The existing contract for disposal of wood waste has been renegotiated by the service, resulting in a £400,000 forecast saving in 2021/22, rising to £430,000 in 2022/23.”

According to the council, around 12,000 tonnes of wood waste per annum are processed through the contract with Casepak.

The price per tonne will be reducing from c.£40 to c.£10 per tonne.

Costs

More than £15 million has also been earmarked for improvement works within its waste service, including £7.96 million on waste transfer station works and £1.85 million of improvements to its HWRC network.

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