Wherever landfill is considered, this should be a last resort. Priority should be given to maximising the capture of landfill gas for use as an energy source wherever feasible, as well as making use of sites for other types of renewable energy generation where feasible. LARAC supports the principle of increasing targets for diversion of all waste types from landfill alongside alternative treatment/recovery measures.
LARAC believes that increasing levels of Landfill Tax already constitute an effective mechanism in encouraging Landfill Diversion. However, LARAC does not object to landfill bans provided that:
* The ban applies to materials for which an alternative is available, with consideration of export restrictions and the proximity principle.
* Such alternatives offer a tangible environmental benefit and do not incur significant additional net cost to Local Authorities.
* The ban does not result in more inorganic materials such as aluminium being diverted to routes that are lower in the waste hierarchy.
In conjunction with the introduction of any landfill bans, LARAC supports the use of market interventions in order to ensure materials are used where they deliver most environmental benefits, i.e. the development and stimulation of markets for recyclates. Everyone in the chain has a part to play. LARAC envisages that local authorities would need to adopt stringent measures to engage with residents around bans and would expect local authorities to be supported and empowered by Government.
Prior to the introduction of a ban, LARAC would urge that contingency arrangements are made for situations where market failure could lead to a sub optimal use of the recyclate.
LARAC recommend that the Government pay attention to “pull” measures such as the RTFO, and to consider a separate incentive to pull plastics out of waste. We generally support measures that incentivise the use of secondary resources against primary resources.
Energy from Waste (including AD)
In the context of the waste hierarchy, highly efficient conversion of waste into energy is promoted, including Anaerobic Decomposition and mass burn incineration with Combined Heat and Power (CHP). LARAC would not support an incineration tax now, but would support long-term policies that will have the effect of continuing to move waste management up the waste hierarchy.
LARAC also urges Government to facilitate an upgrade of the gas grid in order to enable direct injection of biogas from AD plant. This would allow the gas to be used domestically for heat, rather than for centralised electricity generation, leading to greater efficiencies.