UROC met with The Treasury, HMRC, DEFRA, and the Environment Agency last month to discuss propsals to bring in changes to legislation in relation to tackling waste crime and extending the scope of Landfill Tax to apply to illegal waste sites.
The Government agencies stressed the importance of a cross-governmental approach to tackling waste crime and how they wish to use industry expertise to inform government strategy.
A joint response to tackle waste crime and tax evasion
The tax gap for Landfill was 12% in 2014-15, which is equal to £150m. This has provided HMRC with a tool for understanding the size and nature of the risk of lost revenue, and measuring the impact of compliance efforts which has included the secondment of EA waste specialists into HMRC for a period of 2 years. The main Government objectives are to:
- Take the profit out of waste crime;
- Track all illegal waste operators in the chain, as criminals are unlikely to operate in isolation;
- Focus on trommel fines as this waste type is considered the main mis-described waste type.
To help achieve these objectives DEFRA has committed to the following;
- Securing funding (for the EA) and additional enforcement powers
- £23m additional finding for the EA from the Landfill Communities Fund
- Introducing additional powers for the EA (the ability to lock gates and clear waste).
- Raising the standards in the industry (consultation planned for before summer recess)
- Regulate operator competence
- Review waste exemptions
- Possible future work includes:
- Review Duty of Care obligations
- Make Electronic duty of care mandatory
- Intervening further up the waste stream, especially waste producers
Whether to extend the scope of the Landfill Tax to illegal waste sites
EA figures and HMRC intelligence indicates that the use of illegal waste sites is an ongoing and increading problem and that organised crime groups are going to great lengths to increasingly exploit the exisitng legal regimes. The main focus of HMRC is to;
- Level the playing field for legitimate industry;
- Support and complement the activity undertaken by the EA; and
- Provide HMRC with the means to tackle this risk more effectively.
In relation to the possible inclusion of landfill Tax for illegal waste sites, any changes will not come into effect until April 2018. The Scottish and Welsh Governments have already included this provision in respective devolved legislation, therefore, the current consultation only relates to England and Northern Ireland.
UROC has responded in full to the consultation – please click here to read our response on behalf of industry