Scottish Landfill Tax confirmed at £82.60 per tonne
The standard rate of Scottish Landfill Tax for 2015/16 will be £82.60 per tonne, it has been confirmed.
Finance Secretary John Swinney announced the new rate today (9 October), as part of the Budget package for 2015/16.
He stated that the first year of the devolved Landfill Tax, which will begin 1 April 2015, will see businesses pay £82.60 per tonne for ‘standard’ wastes, while a lower rate of £2.60 per tonne will apply for less polluting (or damaging) wastes (as currently applies to UK Landfill Tax).
A new authority, Revenue Scotland, will be set up to administer the two taxes to be devolved from April 2015: Land and Buildings Transaction Tax and Scottish Landfill Tax.
Scottish Landfill Communities Fund
As well as confirming the Scottish Landfill Tax rate, Swinney reiterated the promise that monies raised from Landfill Tax will be paid into a Scottish Landfill Communities fund, aimed at supporting ‘environmental organisations’ and assisting 'communities… in close proximity to landfill sites'.
This will be applicable to projects within 10 miles of a landfill site or waste transfer station.
Further, Landfill Tax operators will be able to contribute 10 per cent more of their tax liability to the fund, in return for tax credits, than they would be able to under the UK limit as it will exist in 2014/15.
Notably, for the first time Landfill Tax will also be recovered from landfill sites where waste has been disposed of illegally, in the hopes of acting as a further deterrent to illegal dumping and encouraging the 'responsible, regulated disposal and treatment of waste'.
Revenue Scotland will also be able to delegate functions to Registers of Scotland and to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, which already deal with registration of land transactions and with regulation of landfill.
‘Avoiding any potential for ‘waste tourism’’
Setting out the budget to Parliament this afternoon, Swinney said: “This budget follows the most vibrant political campaign Scotland has ever experienced.
“No one could have missed the aspirations expressed with breath-taking clarity that the people of Scotland want to live in a more prosperous and a much fairer country than it is today.
“This budget is focused on meeting those ambitions, as far as we can within our current powers, by tackling inequality, investing in our economy and protecting and reforming our public services.”
He added: “It is also a landmark budget, including for the first time our proposals for the rates and bands of Scottish Landfill Tax and Land & Buildings Transaction Tax, devolved through the Scotland Act 2012 and which take effect for the first time in 2015-16.
“Those taxes will be fair taxes set in line with the priorities of the people of Scotland.
“The actions I have taken today demonstrate the values and priorities of the Scottish Government. We drive forward investment in our economy, we protect our NHS, we invest in our young people and businesses and we protect the most vulnerable."
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead added: “We recognise that landfill is an environmentally damaging activity and we are committed to reducing the amount of waste we send to them.
“The rates announced today avoid any potential for ‘waste tourism’ through the differences in the tax rates north and south of the border and provide appropriate financial incentives to support our Zero Waste goal.
“Those living close to landfill sites can experience some detrimental impacts which is why this fund will provide for communities or environmental projects in the vicinity of land sites. By increasing the tax credit allowance by ten per cent over the UK model, we are enhancing the role of the communities fund and increasing the funding available to address environmental harm without increasing the burden of taxation.”
The announcement has been welcomed by several members of the waste and resources industry, with the Scottish Environmental Services Association's Policy Executive, Stephen Freeland, saying: “Since proposals for a devolved Landfill Tax were first announced, SESA has pressed for the Scottish Landfill Tax rate to mirror that of the rest of the UK. Without this consistency across the home nations price disparity might otherwise be exploited, leading to 'waste tourism', where waste is transported to or from Scotland to take advantage of the cheapest waste disposal option.
“We are therefore pleased that the Scottish Government has listened to the industry’s views.”
The Landfill Tax (Scotland) Act 2014 gained Royal Assent in January 2014.