LATS review to consider home composting

A "nuts and bolts" operational review of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) is under way, the Environment Department (DEFRA) has confirmed.

The review will not reassess local authorities’ allocations but will re-examine the scheme’s administration, registration procedures and guidance. It will also reconsider the role of home composting in diverting biodegradable waste from landfill and its possible inclusion in the scheme.

The government’s Waste and Resources Action Programme has developed a methodology to calculate the tonnage of biodegradable waste diverted from collection by the estimated 6.3 million composting households. But it is still unclear whether DEFRA accepts the model. For one, it argues, those who have compost bins may not use them and if they do it is not clear to what extent.

The department wants to hear from councils about any "unforeseen consequences" of LATS on commercial waste collections. This follows anecdotal reports that some council-run services collecting non-biodegradable waste, such as plastics, from businesses have been scrapped because the waste is added to the total amount of municipal waste the authority collects, which bumps up the total deemed to be biodegradable. But DEFRA said there were no plans to review the scheme’s definition of municipal waste.

Instead of issuing a consultation paper, DEFRA will consult through workshops organised by regional government offices, email surveys and questionnaires to waste disposal authorities.

The review is due to end in the autumn. Providing no amendments are required to legislation, changes could be in place by next April.

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