Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Fifth Report


  Having received and read their submissions to the Committee, I felt it important to place on record ENTRUST's response to the points made by The Guardian in the published memoranda, so that the Committee is able to take an informed and balanced view of the allegations made.

  I therefore, attach two documents:

    (i)  an introductory note about ENTRUST and the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme which may help clarify some general misunderstandings about the role of the regulator and the status of the scheme;

    (ii)  a briefing note about ENTRUST's findings following our investigation to The Guardian's specific allegations.

  As you may already be aware ENTRUST, as regulator of the scheme, made a conscious decision not to publicly debate the rights and wrongs of the dossier produced by The Guardian. However, having investigated all those allegations which fell within the purview of ENTRUST, it was found that ALL projects were compliant with the Landfill Tax Regulations 1996. This means the allegations were unfounded. We have not investigated areas mentioned in the dossier which were outside ENTRUST's responsibility as regulator.

  We have continually briefed and up-dated Ministers on the situation, through HM Customs & Excise.

  Many of the allegations made by The Guardian demonstrated a basic misunderstanding and misinterpretation of:

    —  the fundamentals of the scheme;

    —  how it was designed to operate;

    —  the job of ENTRUST as regulator.

  ENTRUST was not approached by The Guardian for any information or advice during their year long investigations. The first call we received from The Guardian was the day before their articles were published. We were never asked any specific questions about the landfill tax credit scheme projects mentioned in their dossier prior to its publication.

  There are other issues mentioned in The Guardian memoranda which I feel are more relevant answered when we give our oral evidence on 28 November 2000.

Dr Richard Sills
Chief Executive


  It is an extremely successful scheme, a success far beyond its originators aspirations. First year contributions of £67 million were more than the receipts we predicted for the first three years. Since the scheme starting in October 1996 environmental bodies have received more than £300 million in contributions. There is great demand for the funding and it is estimated that the scheme is over-subscribed by a factor of 10.

  The diversity of the scheme is matched only by the variety of partnerships that have been built-up between landfill operators, environmental bodies, local communities and local authorities.

  The successful promotion, provision of information and availability of one-to-one help from ENTRUST, to those involved with the scheme has been a major catalyst in its success. For example:

  More than 500 presentations, seminars and other information-provision events have been held or attended since the start of the Scheme. These include:

    —  Ten presentations of the Scheme's Achievements.

    —  Issue management events—three Object C conferences to enhance value-for-money in sustainable waste management projects; and the setting up or facilitation of six regional fora, with support given to many county events.

  As the national regulator, ENTRUST has four offices around the United Kingdom with a team of 25 full-time staff, dealing with all aspects of the ENTRUST duties as required under the terms of approval set by HM Customs and Excise.


  ENTRUST as regulator of the scheme has specific duties, which include:

    —  Enrolment of environmental bodies;

    —  scrutiny of projects for compliance with the "approved objects";

    —  audit and monitoring of EBs' expenditure on the "approved objects";

    —  revocation of non-compliant EBs (seven have been compulsorily revoked);

    —  promotion of the Credit Scheme;

    —  making recommendations to HM Customs & Excise for beneficial changes to the scheme;

    —  interpreting the Regulations.

  ENTRUST does not receive landfill operator contributions or allocate or direct contributions to projects. We have no power to alter the regulations, or to judge the quality of projects, value for money or the environmental bodies efficiency.

  ENTRUST has grown into a professional and competent organisation, able to regulate and administer the regulations and is flexible enough to adapt to changes to the regulations.

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