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Government shortlists incineration tax for Autumn budget

In their summary of responses to the ‘Tackling the plastic problem’ call for evidence, the Government has announced that they are considering an incineration tax to be announced at the forthcoming budget in the Autumn.

The Foreword from Philip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer states:
“…over the coming months, the government will consider the most promising policies in more depth….At Budget, I will announce policies that we plan to take forward.” (emphasis added)
The report concludes by noting that four different policies to be considered will be considered in depth, all of which would remove plastics from the incineration stream:
“8.1 The large number of responses that the government has received has provided us with a valuable evidence base to inform policy decisions. The government has received a wide range of ideas and recommendations. Over the coming months, the government plans to explore the following proposals in more depth:
• using tax to shift demand towards recycled plastic inputs
• using tax to encourage items to be designed in a way that is easier to recycle
• taxes or charges on specific plastic items that are commonly used on-the-go and littered, in order to encourage a reduction in production and use
• using tax to ensure that the right incentives are in place to encourage greater recycling of waste that is currently incinerated”
Justifying their consideration of an incineration tax as a way to provide an incentive to recycle plastics, the main report notes:
“6.13 Certain respondents suggested that the uptake of incineration as a form of residual waste treatment was a key barrier to driving waste up the waste hierarchy. A few respondents said that weight-based recycling targets and weight-based gate fees are a limited incentive when applied to lightweight plastic materials.”  (emphasis added)
“6.14 Respondents from across the supply chain have suggested a tax on the incineration of waste. This could be done based on input tonnages or the material composition of waste, or using some form of emissions metric…”
Speaking of an incineration tax back in May 2018, the exchequer secretary Robert Jenrick told The Times that:
“A number of submissions have advocated a tax on the incineration of waste. There is an argument for changing the incentives to discourage putting further waste to incineration. We would like to see less plastic incinerated, sent to landfill or exported and more recycled.”
Reacting to this, Shlomo Dowen, the National Coordinator of the United Kingdom Without Incineration Network (UKWIN), said: “It is a scandal that for so many years the public has effectively been subsiding the incineration of recyclable and avoidable plastics. The introduction of a tax on the incineration of plastic is long overdue. Such a tax would mean the price of incineration would more closely reflect the climate cost to society of burning these fossil fuels. UKWIN welcomes the news that the Government is considering a tax that would send a clear signal that we should be shifting investment away from incineration towards reduction, reuse and recycling”.
If you haven’t done so then ask your MP to support an incineration tax!

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