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Volume 455: debated on Friday 26 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has put in place to help local authorities meet higher targets for landfill diversion. (117136)

Action to reduce the amount of waste which is sent to landfill is driven by regional and local strategies and supported by nationally funded programmes. As well as encouraging more sustainable resource use, diverting waste from landfill contributes to our efforts to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

The landfill allowances trading scheme (LATS), which we established in 2005, is the main measure in place to help local authorities (LAs) meet national obligations under the EU Landfill Directive to divert biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) from landfill. LATS is a market mechanism that provides LAs with the flexibility to reduce the amount of BMW they landfill in the most cost effective way.

In addition, the Government are providing funding and support to LAs to help them promote and develop more sustainable waste management practices such as recycling, reuse and waste minimisation.

The Waste Implementation Programme (WIP) has a number of projects under way which will help LAs reach their statutory recycling targets by providing best practice, guidance and toolkits for waste management. WIP provides direct support and information to LAs on planning, waste disposal and recycling. In addition, the WIP-funded waste and resources action programme (WRAP) is working with a number of LAs on programmes designed to improve the efficiency of recycling schemes and establish home composting and other minimisation activities.

Funding is provided to LAs to increase recycling and divert waste from landfill through the waste performance and efficiency grant (a three-year targeted grant totalling £260 million), with a further £535 million available from private finance initiative credits from 2006-08.

The waste infrastructure delivery programme (WIDP), which we announced in May last year, will work nationally with LAs and the regions to accelerate the build of new waste diversion infrastructure.

We are working towards challenging national targets and most LAs are making progress. They are achieving higher recycling and composting rates for household waste and greater reuse of waste materials and are working to reduce the amount of waste produced in the first instance.

The revised waste strategy for England, which we will publish in the spring, will outline what steps are being taken, and what more needs to be done, to reduce the amount of waste that is sent to landfill. The public, businesses and the Government all have roles to play in following more sustainable waste management practices.