UK warned it will run out of landfill sites in eight years

Britain will today be declared the "dustbin of Europe" after warnings that it will run out of landfill sites in less than eight years.

The UK buries more than 18.8 million tonnes of household waste – two million tonnes more than any other EU country. On current trends, British taxpayers will face "fines" of up to £180m a year by 2020 if targets under an EU scheme to reduce the amount of paper, food and garden waste being send to landfill sites are not met. Penalties will be imposed on local authorities but will, in effect, be passed on to residents.

57 million tonnes of rubbish, including industrial waste, are being disposed in landfill sites each year. With 650 million cubic metres of capacity left in the ground – three times the volume of Lake Windermere – the UK will reach its limit by 2018.

Although the amount of rubbish sent to landfill has fallen by a third since 2000, councils say more needs to be done to head off the threat of fines.

Gary Porter, chairman of the Local Government Association's environment board, said: "Householders should be congratulated for the efforts they have made in recent years to increase the amount of rubbish they recycle. But that doesn't change the fact that Britain is fast running out of space to dump rubbish in the ground."

He added: "An area the size of Warwick is already being used to dump Britain's rubbish and unless there are radical changes in the way we produce and dispose of our waste it is estimated we will run out of landfill space in less than eight years time."

Italy dumps about 19 million tonnes of household rubbish in the ground, Spain 15 million tonnes and France 12 million tonnes. Under the EU landfill directive, the UK must reduce landfilling to 75 per cent of 1995 levels by 2010, 50 per cent by 2013 and 35 per cent by 2020. Landfill allowances given to councils are fewer in number each year to cut the national rate. Allowances are tradable, so that authorities can buy more if they expect to exceed their quota and those with low landfill rates can sell their surplus allowances. The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has said it will fine councils £150 for every tonne they land-fill above the total amount of allowances they hold. The Government may also pass on any EU fine to the local authorities, meaning that "failing councils" would be responsible for their share of fines reaching £180m a year – £500,000 a day – until the directive's demands are met.

Suggested Topics
News
Jennifer Lawrence was among the stars allegedly hacked
peopleActress and 100 others on 'master list' after massive hack
Sport
Radamel Falcao
footballManchester United agree loan deal for Monaco striker Falcao
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Voices
A man shoots at targets depicting a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a shooting range in the center of the western Ukrainian city of Lviv
voicesIt's cowardice to pretend this is anything other than an invasion
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Arts and Entertainment
booksNovelist takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
music
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

PPC Co-Ordinator – Permanent - West Sussex – £24-£30k

£24000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Are you a Marketin...

Senior Asset Manager

£70000 - £75000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Katie Robinson +44 (...

ASD Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: ASD and EBD teachers required for S...

SEN Learning Support Assistant

Negotiable: Randstad Education Birmingham: LSA's required! West Midlands

Day In a Page

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor