The heads of local authority waste departments across the country have written a joint letter to Environment Secretary Owen Paterson calling for a review of the statistics used to make waste policy decisions.
In the letter, the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (ADEPT), warn that unless a review takes place, the UK risks not meeting its 2020 Landfill Directive targets.
ADEPT president and strategic advisor at Cheshire West and Chester Council Steve Kent said: “Current data is showing that more waste is being collected by local authorities across the country, recycling rates are flattening and residual waste levels are on the rise.
“Those factors, combined with a gap in the amount of waste treatment capacity coming on stream in the next few years should be ringing alarm bells in Whitehall, that the UK’s strategy to stop waste being sent to landfill might be in danger.
“In our view, the Government is relying on trends in household waste that have been recorded during the most difficult economic conditions since the war. But there is now growing evidence that those trends are simply a medium term adjustment and that as the country starts to return to growth and as our population continues to increase, the UK will simply be ill prepared to manage its waste properly.
“ADEPT is not convinced that Defra has given these latest trends proper consideration when it comes to assessing the country’s future waste treatment needs, in a situation where it is already not certain that 2020 requirements will be met.
“That is why we are calling on the Government to review the situation urgently to provide reassurance that the UK can meets its European Landfill Directive targets in seven years time.”