Sir: Following Denis MacShane's letter (24 February), we would like to add our support to concerns that the new landfill tax has the potential to penalise environmentally conscientious companies.
Our subsidiary British Salt has invested hundreds of thousand of pounds in a brine residue disposal system which is non-polluting and does not damage the environment in any way. The system is effectively a closed loop, returning the inert residues by underground pipeline to sealed underground brine cavities that are owned and operated by British Salt. Yet the tax as currently defined would penalise the company heavily for its environmentally sound practices.
If the purpose of the tax is to encourage effective waste management, then exemption or zero rating should be granted to those companies who achieve the best practicable environmental option (a recognised legal standard for compliance) within their own land. Administrative simplicity is no reason for denying this "green" incentive to industry.
We are fully supportive of legislation which homes in on the real causes of pollution. As it is drafted, however, the landfill tax is much too blunt an instrument.