The Welsh Government commissioned Eunomia to conduct a mid-term evaluation of their Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme (LDTCS), a grant funding programme that provides compensation for communities negatively impacted by living in close proximity to landfill sites or waste transfer stations. Since 2018, the LDTCS has allocated £1.4 million per year to community-based projects. The aim of the evaluation was to provide an understanding of the LDTCS’s performance in delivering its objectives and supporting Welsh policies and priorities since its inception in 2018.
Eunomia led an independent evaluation of the overall LDTCS that focused on process, impact, and value-for-money. A detailed evaluation framework and stakeholder engagement plan were developed to guide this process. This included engaging with a wide range of stakeholders through surveys and interview, including grant holders, unsuccessful applicants, the Office for Budget Responsibility, as well as the Welsh Government.
Following discussions with stakeholders, some of the key findings were:
- LDTCS funding was viewed as easier to access than alternative funding streams for community-based organisations. Several stakeholders cited that many of these projects would unlikely take place without LDTCS support.
- The LDTCS could find opportunities for the application process to better deal with less experienced applicants that introduce innovative project ideas.
- The impact assessment established the LDTCS’s contribution towards various Welsh Government priorities, and the value-for-money assessment estimated a 6.8:1 benefit-to-cost ratio. This finding illustrates the strength of the LDTCS to leverage community assets and to contribute to increased volunteering and community cohesion.
- The approach towards measuring project impacts can be improved to better understand the full impacts – both in terms of quality and monetised terms – of the LDTCS.
- Shifts in community needs and Welsh Government priorities are indicating a focus on the circular economy, wellbeing, and the climate and biodiversity crises.
The evaluation findings informed a set of recommendations for the future of the LDTCS, including continuing the present Scheme in the short to medium term; improving the application, administration, and impact monitoring process of the Scheme; allowing wider opportunities for knowledge sharing across current and future projects; and reassessing the Scheme’s purpose given the changing needs of communities and priorities of Welsh Government.
A full list of findings and recommendations can be found at: https://gov.wales/review-landfill-disposals-tax-communities-scheme
In March 2022, Julie James, Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change announced that the LDTCS would continue in the short-term. This decision allows for local communities to continue benefitting from the LDTCS in the short-term. The Welsh Government will also reconsider this evidence provided by Eunomia and from wider sources to inform the development of a revised scheme within the next 6 months. This will help to ensure that the revised scheme more effectively supports the delivery of the Programme for Government and more flexibly responds to the needs of the communities that are eligible to receive support.
Alexa Cancio, project lead and senior consultant at Eunomia, said:
“This was an excellent opportunity to help the Welsh Government obtain the evidence to guide the LDTCS’s future direction. Engaging a variety of stakeholders was key to this piece of work and has allowed the development of essential recommendations that will ensure the LDTCS meets its ambitions.”
Melanie Matthews, from Landscapes, Nature & Forestry at the Welsh Government, said:
The evidence Eunomia collated for the review is very positive about the LDTCS, how it has been implemented, its impact, and the value for money it has delivered since 2018. The evidence demonstrated that a wide range of communities have benefitted through the LDTCS’s support. The scheme has specifically contributed towards previous and current Programme for Government, as well as several important policy priorities directly affecting communities around Wales.