MPs call for reform of Landfill Tax to drive recycling rates


The Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) has called for changes to Landfill Tax to drive up recycling rates and improve investment in the recycling sector.

MPs on the Committee have produced a report, Sustainability and HM Treasury, that argues that the Treasury should ‘green-check’ all its decisions as it has been found to put short-term priorities ahead of long-term sustainability.


On Landfill Tax, the EAC said that it had helped to divert waste from landfill and given confidence to businesses.

But the report added: “The landfill tax is, however, a ‘blunt instrument’ and is not sufficiently nuanced to drive continued increases in recycling rates. We have seen no evidence to suggest that the Treasury has been working with DEFRA – which has lead responsibility for waste and recycling policy – to find new ways of boosting recycling to achieve our EU targets.

“The Treasury should set out in its response to this report its future plans for the landfill tax and how it plans to support further investment in the waste and recycling sectors in the future.”

In the report, the EAC called on the Treasury to provide greater leadership on environmental sustainability by:

  • Ensuring Spending Reviews provide strong incentives for collaboration between departments on environmental matters.
  • Incorporating new evidence on long-term environmental risks and benefits into its frameworks for assessing the value for money of government interventions;
  • Increasing transparency and accountability by providing publically available justifications for its decisions;
  • Working with other departments whose policies affect the environment to ensure the Government’s new industrial strategies promote sustainability.


EAC chair Mary Creagh MP (pictured) said: “The Treasury is highly influential and uniquely placed to ensure the whole of Government works to promote sustainability. But we have seen considerable evidence that it fails to do this.

“The Treasury tends not to take full account of the long term environmental costs and benefits of decisions which would reduce costs for taxpayers and consumers in the long run.”