Waste recycling rates up 2% as landfill fires raise concerns

REPEAT CHAMPION: WASHING INFRASTRUCTURE – The Government is calling for an urgent halt to landfill fires as it braces for a rise in rubbish disposal rates.

The Government has issued new guidance which says the number of landfill fires each year should be reduced to zero by 2020.

The figures from the Department of Environment and Heritage (DHE) shows the rate of waste recycling in the UK increased by just 0.3% last year.

It also shows a slight increase in the number that were recycled at landfill in 2020 compared to the previous year, from just over 100,000 to over 125,000.

That means around 7,600 tonnes of rubbish are disposed annually into landfill.

The Department of the Environment and the Heritage have also launched an initiative to encourage local authorities to recycle more, with the aim of reducing landfill fires.

The department said the latest figures show the number on the landfill has risen by just 1.4% to just over 10,000 tonnes of waste.

It said it was encouraging local authorities across the country to make the biggest progress in recycling and said local authorities should consider recycling as part of a plan to keep the country clean.

Department of Environment spokesman David Coughlan said: “If we continue to keep our national waste levels at the levels they are now, we are going to run into a situation where we can’t even have a plan for the long-term, where we won’t be able to protect the environment and it’s going to lead to landfill fire risk.”

He said it would be good for landfill fire prevention if authorities could start to “reduce the number” of fires and “to consider the possibility of building a network of fire safety stations and fire protection measures to reduce the risk to people’s homes and businesses.”

Mr Coughlans comments came as the Government announced it was introducing legislation to require the UK’s landfill fire management scheme to be renewed every five years.

The scheme was introduced by the Conservatives in 2014 to reduce landfill fires by 20%.

In order to continue to meet its target of reducing the number, the Government has introduced the legislation which would require a new landfill fire to be deemed to be the worst fire on a national scale by 2020 and will be deemed a major fire in its own right by 2022.

The government has also launched a new national landfill fire strategy which calls for a national plan to reduce fire risk in the next five years, with a target of removing the worst hazard from the UK.

A Department of Energy and Climate Change spokesman said: ‘The Government is committed to helping the local authorities and their local communities to reduce and manage landfill fire risks to the greatest extent possible.’

The department added: ‘We are encouraging local communities across the UK to build fire safety plans, to reduce waste collection and to consider recycling.’

It said the national landfillfire plan was a ‘very good start’ but further work was needed to address the fire risk reduction targets.