Landfill Tax rebate to assist brownfield redevelopment

Today (21 July), the Government has announced plans to introduce grants to alleviate Landfill Tax costs, aiming to reduce barriers to the redevelopment of brownfield land.

brownfield landA four-week ‘Call for Evidence’ will first seek views on the need for, and design of, a scheme to support councils overcome the restrictions of the tax. The Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra) will also welcome views on how to ensure a grant scheme would not undermine the waste hierarchy or incentivise illegal dumping.

Applicants of the grant will need to demonstrate that the use of landfill is ‘reasonably necessary’, and ‘steps have been taken to minimise the quantity of waste that will be landfilled’.

Brownfield land – land previously developed and no longer in use – can be of interest to local authorities, consultants, planners and developers who wish to redevelop, remediate, and protect land affected by contamination.

In some cases, where remediating contaminated land is not possible without sending waste to landfill, the Landfill Tax can ‘act as a significant barrier to redevelopment’.

Defra’s proposals, potentially implemented as early as Autumn, look to remedy this, making the development of more homes and businesses on brownfield sites easier. The changes, the Department states, will also protect the environment and public health.

The Landfill Tax was first introduced in 1996 to prevent the sending of waste to landfill and encourage recycling, reuse and recovery. Currently, the tax is valued at £98.60 per tonne, with a lower rate of £3.15 for the least polluting material. The policy is widely regarded as being successful, Defra says – local authority waste sent to landfill in England has fallen by 90 per cent since 2000.

Defra has therefore concluded that by targeting grants where Landfill Tax would otherwise have prevented remediation on commercial terms, ‘any scheme would seek to be cost-neutral’.

Environment Minister Lord Benyon said: “This grant will help councils build new homes and businesses on derelict eyesore sites – delivering more homes, and regenerating towns and cities.

“Landfill tax has done a fantastic job in preventing unnecessary waste – but it’s important it doesn’t act as a barrier to regeneration.”

Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Alan Mak added: “Ensuring that communities across England have the tools to transform their local areas is central to our levelling up mission.

“I’m delighted that we’re exploring this bold new scheme which could remove unintended barriers for local authorities who want the best for their communities, whilst protecting our natural environment from contamination.”