An Evaluation of the Landfill Disposals Tax on behalf of the Welsh Government

14th July 2023

Following our work on evaluating the Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme, the Welsh Government commissioned Eunomia to conduct an impact evaluation of their Landfill Disposals Tax (Wales) Act 2017 (LDT).

The Landfill Tax Regulations 1996 was introduced in the UK to reduce the disposal of waste in landfill and encourage more sustainable waste management. This power was devolved to Wales in 2017 through LDT.

During the passage of the LDT Act 2017, a commitment was made for an independent review to be carried out by September 2023. This evaluation aimed to fulfil that obligation and understand to what extent the LDT has been effective in supporting environmental policy since 2018.  

Eunomia led the design and delivery of the evaluation. Our work included the design of an evaluation framework to guide the desktop review and stakeholder engagement process via interviews and survey. We involved a range of stakeholders—including trade associations, environmental organisations, regulators, government and policymakers, landfill site operators, other infrastructure operators, and waste producers—to understand the impact of the LDT rates and the wider regulation itself on behaviours in the Welsh waste management sector. 

Following analysis of the data, the key findings were: 

  • LDT has made a positive contribution toward waste management priorities of the Welsh Government. At the same time, isolating the effectiveness of LDT was challenging. LDT sits within a broader policy landscape, and its direct impact was difficult to disentangle from other interventions.  
  • Other policy interventions and external factors played a greater role in encouraging reuse, recycling and the uptake of alternative technologies. These other interventions included local authority statutory recycling targets and several political signals that indicated landfill as an unviable option. 

Some improvements were identified for consideration. These included reducing the administrative burden that LDT places on landfill site operators and introducing multiple/middle tax rates. The latter may enable the different environmental burdens of individual materials to be accounted for and could alleviate the issue of some types of misclassification. However, we recommended that this should be examined in further detail so to avoid any unintended consequences associated with incentivising illegal activity.  

The detailed report can be found at:  Independent review: Land Disposals Tax (Wales) Act 2017 | GOV.WALES 

Alexa Cancio, project lead and senior consultant at Eunomia, said: 

“The LDT served a crucial role to move waste away from landfill. Through this evaluation, we have seen a continued positive contribution to circular economy in Wales. However, it must be accounted for alongside other Welsh environmental policy tools that are all pushing Wales towards this same goal.”