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Landfill Tax: Fly-tipping

Volume 475: debated on Monday 12 May 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect on fly-tipping of the landfill tax escalator. (204486)

No formal assessment has been made.

However, the Government are monitoring levels of fly-tipping and ways in which the effects can be mitigated. In April 2004, the Flycapture database was set up to help local authorities and the Environment Agency improve information on the scale of fly-tipping and to help focus resources and identify trends in this growing environmental crime. Flycapture is enabling central and local government to demonstrate the true nature, extent and scale of fly-tipping, both nationally and locally. The data are being used to develop more effective, evidence-based policies and strategies.

DEFRA also funded a research report by the Jill Dando Institute of Crime Science into the causes and incentives of fly-tipping. The report concludes that there is not one cause of fly-tipping but a number of separate ones.

Assessing the specific effect of the landfill tax on fly-tipping would be extremely difficult, not least because there are a number of different causes of fly-tipping, some of which may need to coincide before a person decides to act illegally. Fly-tipping levels also reflect the level of enforcement and other prevention activity undertaken by the Environment Agency and local authorities, which can offset any increase in illegal activity.

Although the research recognises that one of these causes may be the cost of legitimate waste disposal, the landfill tax is an important instrument in reducing our reliance on landfill and moving to more sustainable waste management options. The actual increases, together with the knowledge of the future rate of tax, is sending a strong signal. This will change behaviour, while allowing business time to adjust and make the necessary investment in alternative waste treatment routes.