Scottish residual waste could be sent to England say SESA

A new report from the Scottish Government has found that Scotland faces a 1 million tonne residual waste capacity gap, meaning that this waste may be sent to England.

The Scottish Environmental Services Association (SESA) has said that the unpreparedness of Scotland’s 2021 landfill ban means that the residual waste could be sent to England.

SESA has voiced its concern on Scotland’s lack of readiness for the 2021 landfill ban following the national media’s worries.


From 1 January 2021, landfill operators in Scotland will be prohibited from accepting biodegradable local waste for disposal in landfill.

However, SESA’s research has found that Scotland lacks sufficient non-landfill treatment capacity to meet the ban’s current 2021 target, and approximately 1 million tonnes of residual waste will have to find disposal outlets outside of Scotland.

With no landfill ban planned for England, industry experts believe that the majority of this waste will move across the border into England.

Currently Landfill Tax in England is £88.95/tonnes but is planned to be raised to over £94/tonnes by April 2020.

SESA policy advisor Stephen Freeland said: “Restricting or banning certain materials can act as a great incentive to recover value from the waste we all produce – but it needs to be properly planned for. Bringing this ban in too early before the infrastructure is built in Scotland to deal properly with the waste will simply mean the waste will follow the line of least resistance.

“This means either crossing the border into England to be landfilled, meaning higher haulage costs to local authorities and businesses and a hefty landfill tax bill, or worse it will end up in the hands of waste criminals who cause misery for people, damage to the environment, and have a significant impact on UK finances.

“Either way, that won’t be good for the environment or Scotland’s economy and we will be seeking an early meeting with Scottish Government to help come up with a plan of action that will help resolve this situation.”

The Scottish Government is expected to publish a report later this month on the state of Scotland’s residual waste market and export capacity. It is likely to outline Scotland’s preparedness for the ban and the implications of managing the waste outside of Scotland.

SESA chairman Michael Tracey said: “We need common sense to prevail here; bringing this ban in without giving enough time to build the right infrastructure to deal with the waste that will be banned from landfill and effectively “homeless” will be a costly mistake for Scotland.

“We urge the Scottish government to work with the industry in an urgent review of Scotland’s waste procurement framework to help accelerate investment in much needed new non-landfill capacity.”

The Association has said that it is looking forwarding to engaging and working with the Scottish Government to find a suitable sustainable solution for the management of the waste.

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