Government policies to divert waste away from landfill could actually be speeding up our waste crisis, writes James Cartledge.
Drivers like the Landfill Tax, which encourage waste away from landfill disposal, appear to be discouraging the development of new landfill projects too effectively.
Although the demand for landfill in the UK might be reducing thanks to more recycling and new incinerators, new research suggests the amount of available landfill space may be decreasing faster than the drop in demand for landfill.
This could mean the UK is heading towards a major shortage of options within a decade, for a significant proportion of the estimated 220 million tonnes of waste produced each year in this country.
New research has found that just a fifth of our annual landfill needs were replaced in 2006 by newly consented landfill capacity, continuing a trend seen in 2005. The 685 million cubic metres of landfill void available by the end of 2005 appears to be shrinking by around 60 million cubic metres each year.
The warning came as Defra published its annual pocket-sized guide to sustainable development, which lays out progress made towards various environmental goals in order to inform business and policy makers what needs to be done.
The guide recognised progress made such as the boost in household waste recycling to 27% in England.
More at the Let’s Recycle website here.