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Environmental Trusts

Volume 464: debated on Tuesday 9 October 2007

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps he is taking to facilitate the release of monies deposited in Environmental Trust accounts originally earmarked under Entrust’s categories C and CC for education and research; (154198)

(2) what total amount derived from landfill tax revenues is held in the largest 12 environmental trust accounts;

(3) what steps he (a) has taken and (b) is taking to make the bank accounts of environmental trusts which receive landfill tax monies more accountable;

(4) how much remains unspent in Environmental Trust bank accounts unable to be released due to the withdrawal of the education and research C and CC categories.

Any contributions made before 1 April 2003 for spending on sustainable waste management (object C and CC) projects that had a written agreement in place committing those funds to a specific project prior to 1 April 2007 can still be spent on that project. If there was not a written agreement in place by 1 April 2007, the funds should be released for spending on other qualifying objects.

This policy has been clearly communicated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Entrust to site operators and environmental bodies respectively.

Information provided by environmental bodies on their most recently submitted returns shows that the largest 12 environmental bodies held a total of approximately £97 million in their bank accounts at the end of the period in relation to contributions made under the Landfill Communities Fund. Environmental bodies must report to Entrust the amount of money held in their bank accounts relating to contributions made to them under the Landfill Communities Fund. Entrust verifies this information, according to risk, as part of its audit function. Entrust also provides quarterly reports to HMRC of contributions made and spent. HMRC keep a keen interest in the relationship between money contributed and spent.