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Scottish landfill tax to tackle illegal dumping
A new bill introduced to the Scottish Parliament recently could see Scotland adopt a new tax to replace UK Landfill Tax and tackle illegal waste disposal while bringing benefits to community and environmental groups.
Finance Secretary John Swinney introduced the Landfill Tax (Scotland) Bill, which will see Scotland take responsibility from the UK Government for administering landfill tax. If passed, the Bill will help tackle the problem of unauthorised dumping activity and encourage the proper disposal and recycling of materials.
The Bill also introduces a Scottish communities fund which will support environmental organisations and provide assistance to communities living in close proximity to landfill sites.
Mr Swinney said:
“Today we have taken a further step toward setting a new landfill tax for Scotland which will better reflect Scottish values and Scottish circumstances.
“I am eager to use this opportunity to ensure that landfill tax, environmental protection legislation, regulation and compliance regimes are all aligned and working in the best interests of our environment and our economy.
“One opportunity this opens for Scotland would be to increase the amount that is invested in the communities fund to improve surroundings and mitigate against the impact landfill has on communities.
“Landfill Tax is a cornerstone of Scotland’s Zero Waste Plan which encourages the prevention, reuse and recycling of waste and helping keep valuable resources circulating in the Scottish economy.
"The transfer of tax powers in this area only adds to the case for the responsibility for all taxation in Scotland to rest with the Scottish Parliament.
“The changes we are making show that where we have the powers we are able to design a system better suited to Scotland’s interests. Only in an independent Scotland, where Scotland has full control over all economic levers, will the interests of Scotland be best served."
SEPA Chief Executive, James Curran, said:
“The Scottish Landfill Tax will encourage waste minimisation and support the development of alternative waste technologies and re-using waste as a resource. It will also help create a level playing field for operators by tackling the problem of illegal waste dumping.
“I am pleased that SEPA will be collecting the tax as it will help improve the efficiency of the collection process in Scotland, further develop our relationship with landfill operators, and ensure that environmental criminals pay their dues, as well as supporting the positive work of Environmental Bodies throughout Scotland.”
The Landfill Tax (Scotland) Bill proposes a replacement for the UK Landfill Tax in Scotland from 1 April 2015. It aims to maintain the successful elements of the current UK system whilst creating a uniquely Scottish system to address Scottish issues.
The policy represents a major change to the current UK tax system, which only taxes legal activities. This approach will act as a strong deterrent to illegal dumping, encourage the proper disposal and recycling of materials and help ensure the market distortions caused by illegal operations don’t undermine legitimate business ventures.
This innovative approach to landfill tax, alongside Scotland’s Zero Waste Plan and waste regulations, will help Scotland maintain progress towards becoming a society where we get the greatest value out of the materials we consume and keep those resources in the Scottish economy.
The transfer of responsibility for Landfill Tax alongside the other new tax powers in the Scotland Act (2012) to the Scottish Parliament is a first and significant step towards establishing the principle that taxes paid in Scotland are best managed and set by those with Scotland's interests in mind. These will be introduced from April 2015.
This announcement comes on the same day the Scottish Government launched its Resource Efficient Scotland programme to bring together expertise on managing energy, water and materials costs into a single service for the first time.