Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Fifth Report



  1.1  The Landfill Tax Credit Scheme was introduced as part of the Landfill Tax Regulations on 1 October 1996. This enabling legislation required the appointment of a Regulator for the scheme. ENTRUST, a not for profit regulatory body, was appointed by HM Customs & Excise to be responsible for the regulation and administration of the scheme. The Regulator was required by HM Customs & Excise to facilitate the setting up and resourcing of a representative user group. The purpose of this user group (EBCO) was to provide the regulator with advice on the operation of the credit scheme and feedback from Environmental Bodies (EBs) enrolled within the scheme.

  1.2  EBCO welcomes the Environment, Transport & Regional Affairs Committee's intention, as highlighted in press notice No. 50 of Session 1999/00 dated 27 July 2000, to examine whether the policies set out in the 1998 report on sustainable waste management are sufficient to deliver that objective. With particular interest in whether sufficient measures and financial resources are in place to support the implementation of those policies. Therefore, EBCO wishes to contribute to this important debate by providing relevant evidence from its experience of the operation of the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme. The purpose of this scheme and its preset objectives will be of particular relevance to the following key areas of interest highlighted in press notice No. 50:

    —  More efficient use of resources and a consequential reduction in the amount of material entering the waste stream.

    —  An increase in recycling of waste, particularly by greater development of markets for recycled material (including compost) and the use of producer responsibility measures.

    —  A reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill—in this context, the sub-committee would welcome views on the effects of the landfill tax and its associated credit scheme.

    —  Sufficient action to educate the public about the importance of sustainable waste management.


  2.1  EBCO was set up by ENTRUST to provide feedback on the operation of the credit scheme. In order to interact with the growing UK wide network of EBs (2200 on 14.09.00) and to provide both feedback and advice, EBCO with support from ENTRUST, has developed the following range of communication mechanisms:

2.1.1  Quarterly Newsletter

  EBCO has produced a quarterly newsletter which is circulated to all enrolled EBs by ENTRUST. EBCO has full editorial control of the newsletter and uses the publication to inform EBs and encourage dialogue.

2.1.2  Website

  EBCO has developed and manages a multi-access website ( and direct line telephone number of provide online access and support for EBs. This website includes regularly updated information relevant to the scheme and a bulletin board available to all EBs to enable "online" discussion and debate on key issues affecting EBs.

2.1.3  Regional Meetings

  EBCO has developed a programme of regional meetings for EBs. These regional events are managed and provided by an independent facilitator with the primary objective of initiating debate and capturing qualitative feedback on the operation of the scheme. This feedback is shared with the Regulator and used to amend, adapt and develop the scheme's procedures and processes.

2.1.4  EB Workshops

  EBCO has worked with the Regulator to create a series of focused workshops, which bring together a variety of EB organisations to test and advise the regulator in respect of proposed scheme developments. These workshops have been formed to comment on the appropriateness of changes to report forms and the development of clear "user friendly" guidelines for organisations wishing to enrol as EBs.

Regional Fora

  EBCO, in partnership with the Regulator has been involved in the development of a series of regional fora across the UK, which bring together EBs, landfill operators, local authorities, academic institutions and other interested parties to discuss in open forum issues affecting the scheme, its achievements and future development.

  2.2  The above comprehensive portfolio of programmed activities has ensured that the Regulator is made aware of key issues impacting on the effectiveness and efficiency of the scheme. But additionally to ensure that EBs have a mechanism to be both listened to and heard. This approach has provided EBCO with a unique insight into the UK's largest co-ordinated network of locally based agents for sustainable environmental improvement.


  3.1  EBCO from its inception in 1997 has endeavoured diligently to maintain within its structure, a breadth of representation, which covers both the geographic spread and diverse type of EB. The popularity of this scheme, the significant resources available and the breadth of permitted applications have resulted in a considerable diversity of EB type. Fundamentally, there are two generic types, ie those, which distribute funding on behalf of landfill operators and those, which receive funds to carryout projects.

  3.2  However, the nature of those receiving and some of those distributing have become quite specialised. For example, some EBs are single issue focused and may be universities, local community networks or existing voluntary organisations, with a focus on particular issues, such as local environmental improvement, waste minimisation, tree planting, historic building restoration or public amenity development. This has led to the development of a very diverse range of active organisations. The popularity of the programme and the enthusiasm with which it is approached, can be confirmed by the large number of enrolled bodies (2200) currently registered in the scheme. Funded EBs are currently participating in 4000 approved projects across the UK.

  3.3  The most recent available statistics indicate that around 20 per cent of funded EBs are working exclusively on Objective C & CC (sustainable waste management & market development) projects. However, further analysis of the statistics indicate that almost 45 per cent of all funded EBs have elements of their programmes with projects within object C and CC categories. EBCO believes that this important network is rapidly becoming an infrastructure, with the capability of making a significant difference in terms of a greater opportunity to recycle, a reduction of landfill volume and promoting the behavioural changes required to underpin future sustainable waste management initiatives. Additionally, EBCO is aware that the EB network has recently launched two linked steering bodies to encourage the development of object C & CC projects and to provide co-ordination of the scheme's activities with other research. The two organisations are, the Information and Access Steering Group (IASG) and the Value Enhancement Steering Group (VSEG). Both groups should contribute significantly to enhancing the effectiveness and value of the credit scheme as it develops further sustainable waste management initiatives.

  3.4  EBCO notes the sub-committee's interest in the impact of the credit scheme on the reduction of landfill volume. Undoubtedly the sub-committee will already know that the encouragement of more sustainable waste management activities is one of a series of approved objects for the credit scheme. It is therefore worth noting that in addition to the network described above, approximately 29 per cent of deployed credits to date are being used on projects which fall within this objective (categories C & CC). This reflects a financial expenditure of almost £40 million distributed across 866 independent projects.

  3.5  EBCO acknowledges that this is a significant impact and that the credit scheme has the potential for even greater impact, although some changes in the enabling legislation may be required if the intention is to focus more directly on waste minimisation outcomes for the scheme. Equally importantly, EBCO would like to stress the real value of the UK wide network, which has developed within the credit scheme. This network properly informed, resourced and deployed provides a significant potential to address and achieve progress on many of the issues highlighted in press notice No. 50.


  4.1  EBCO's interaction with the EB network highlights considerable support for the scheme. EBs are concerned to:

    —  Ensure a greater provision of information about the scheme.

    —  Create greater degrees of consistency in respect of distribution mechanisms.

    —  Simplify the administration.

    —  Increase communication between the various stakeholders.

    —  Encourage a review into the barrier created by the scheme's requirement for a 10 per cent contribution from the landfill operator, or as is frequently the case (estimated as 75 per cent of cases) a third party, to release the tax credits.

  4.2  EBCO wholly endorses the landfill tax credit scheme as an imaginative response to releasing resources to achieve sustainable environmental improvement and, in particular sustainable waste management.

  4.3  EBCO would further encourage the sub-committee to consider recommending a greater percentage of the tax recovered (currently up to a maximum of 20 per cent) to be made available for resourcing the growing network of EBs.

  4.4  It may be worth the sub-committee considering that any increase in the percentage currently available could be dedicated, or ring-fenced for waste minimisation objectives. This would have the effect of underpinning the existing breadth of environmental projects while encouraging the network to increase activity in respect of sustainable waste management initiatives at a local level.

October 2000

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