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Volume 456: debated on Wednesday 31 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the landfill capacity available for local authorities in areas covered by the Sustainable Communities Plan; and if he will make a statement. (111638)

No specific estimate has been made by this Department of landfill capacity available to local authorities in areas covered by the Sustainable Communities Plan.

The capacity of landfill sites in England and Wales has been assessed by the Environment Agency. It concluded that there is sufficient landfill capacity to meet current waste arisings in England. Future capacity is difficult to predict. However, a number of Government policies are designed to significantly reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfill.

On 22 January this year, I announced new powers to set up joint waste authorities, which will help local authorities work together to achieve better integrated, cost-effective waste services and invest in more sustainable waste facilities. These new powers, together with more challenging waste targets, progressively lower landfill limits and the escalating landfill tax will all help the UK to move away from its reliance on landfill. These measures will also encourage more sustainable waste management through greater reduction, reuse and recycling.