The government has announced that there is the potential for grants to help councils redevelop land and help to regenerate unused land.
They have stated that there will be a four-week long Call for Evidence in order to seek views on the need for a potential scheme that will provide support for local authorities by refunding the costs of Landfill Tax. This acts as a barrier to the redevelopment of brownfield and contaminated land.
With the scheme possibly coming into place as early as autumn, it would allow councils to build homes and business on brownfield sites, helping to protect both the health of the public, as well as the environment.
Lord Benyon, Environment Minister, said:
“This grant will help council’s build new homes and businesses on derelict eyesore sights – delivering more homes, and regenerating towns and cities.
Landfill tax has done a fantastic job in preventing unnecessary waste – but it’s important it doesn’t act as a barrier to regeneration.”
Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, Alan Mak, said:
“Ensuring that communities across England have the tools to transform their local areas is central to our levelling up mission.
I’m delighted that we’re exploring this bold new scheme which could remove unintended barriers for local authorities who want the best for their communities, whilst protecting our natural environment from contamination.”
The Landfill tax that will be refunded as part of this scheme was adopted in 1996 to encourage a shift away from moving all waste to landfill, and to promote recycling, reuse, and recovery. The current valuation sets it at £98.60 per tonne, with less polluting material coming in at a lower rate of £3.15 per tonne.
Local authority waste being sent to landfill in England has fallen by 90% since 2000, showing that the program was largely successful, however it can be seen as a barrier to redevelopment considering there are some cases where remediating contaminated land isn’t possible without sending waste to landfill.
The four-week Call for Evidence will seek views on how the grant scheme can be brought in, without undermining the waste hierarchy or incentivising illegal dumping of waste. Should the plan be adopted, applicants would need to demonstrate that their use of the landfill is reasonably necessary, and they have taken steps to ensure that the quantity of waste being landfilled is minimised.