London implements trading scheme for municipal
London— The Landfill Allowance
Trading Scheme (LATS), one of the government’s key measures
to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfill,
went live in April.
The scheme will see progressive
reductions in the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that
disposal authorities can landfill. The diversion of biodegradable
municipal waste from landfill is a key objective under the Landfill
Directive. By 2010, biodegradable waste going to landfill must
be 75% of the amount disposed in 1995; by 2013 this is reduced
to 50% and by 2020 to 35%.
Current estimates suggest that
around 68% of English municipal waste is biodegradable. In England
this means reducing the amount of such waste landfilled to 11.2m
tons in 10/2009 - a reduction of 9.7m tons from that landfilled
Landfilling biodegradable waste
can contribute to environmental problems, such as leachate production
and the release of methane, a potent greenhouse gas, which can
contribute to climate change. Local authorities across England
have been set limits on the amount of biodegradable municipal
waste they can dispose of in landfill sites. These ‘landfill
allowances’ are tradable. Authorities can buy more allowances
if they expect to landfill more than is permitted by the number
of allowances they hold. Authorities with low landfill rates can
sell their surplus allowances. Waste disposal authorities will
also be able to save unused allowances (banking) or bring forward
part of their future allocation (borrowing).
Any transfer of allowances, through
trading or borrowing, will need to be registered on the LATS Register
- an online system to record all allowances allocated to each
waste disposal authority and to facilitate the banking, borrowing
and trading of allowances. This system, which is only accessible
by waste disposal authorities, has been launched in April.
Through the flexibilities of
trading, banking and borrowing, authorities can develop the most
cost-effective strategy for meeting their waste targets. Disposal
authorities that exceed the limit set by the allowances they hold
will be fined £150 for every ton they are over the limit.
Environment Minister Elliot Morley welcomed the scheme and highlighted
how it is set to help local authorities meet waste targets. Elliot
Morley said: "The Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme is an
innovative and flexible approach which moves Government away from
the old tools of command and control by offering an alternative
to the regulatory system of inflexible targets.