Sunday, April 29, 2007

And Still More UK - EU Rubbish . . .

I will admit to not following all that closely the UK's ongoing crisis of trash. But then I saw this in the EU Referendum that provides much needed clarity. It would appear that the UK's problems have as their genesis yet one more well intentioned regulation from the EU:

, , , [I]n all the acres of newsprint devoted in recent days to the chaos engulfing our rubbish disposal system, one crucial ingredient has been almost entirely lacking. This is, he tells us, a proper explanation not only of why we have got into this mess but why it is soon going to cost us billions of pounds, including huge fines to Brussels, which alone, on official figures, will soon total more than £1 billion.

And so we get the story:

When in 1999 the EU decided to phase out the landfilling of waste with its Landfill Directive, this was always going to hit the UK much harder than anyone else, because we have traditionally put much more of our rubbish into holes in the ground than other countries. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with that, since it has been used to reclaim large areas of land which might otherwise serve no useful purpose.

Two main instruments were used to enforce this policy. The first was that, under the directive, each country was set targets for reducing landfill, with hefty fines by the EU for anyone failing to meet them. By 2010 these will amount to £150 for every ton of waste by which each local council exceeds its target.

The second instrument, to encourage us to meet our targets, was the landfill tax, which Gordon Brown has just increased over the next two years to £32 a ton, a rise by next year of 33 percent. The Local Government Association has just released figures showing that, over the next four years, this will cost council taxpayers a staggering £3 billion.

Despite this, however, we will still be so far short of our EU target that, by 2013, the National Audit Office estimates that we shall be paying £205 million a year in fines to Brussels. Within ten years those fines (again payable by council taxpayers) will have amounted to well over £1 billion; in addition to the billions of pounds we shall be paying in landfill tax.

Unlike any other country in Europe, in short, we shall be hit by the Landfill Directive by a massive double-whammy. Hence all the ridiculous measures now filling the newspapers which councils are now taking, in a desperate effort to increase "recycling" and reduce our dependence on landfill. In fact, as I reported last month, much of this is based on bureaucratic humbug and statistical juggling. Much of what is shown as being collected for "recycling" is not being recycled at all. It is either being shipped out to the Far East, or is still being quietly put into tips here in Britain, but in such a way that it doesn't show up in the official figures as "landfill".

If the newspapers currently running campaigns on "bin chaos" really want to do something about it, they could begin by explaining just how this disaster has arisen. It does seem rather crazy that we should all be having to pay £3 billion in the next four years, in a vain bid to avoid having to pay a further £1 billion in fines as a free gift to our EU partners - all because our politicians should never have agreed to this dotty system of waste disposal being imposed on Britain in the first place.
Read the whole post here. Ahh, but the many joys of EU membership are many . . .

No comments:


View My Stats