Hannigfield Concluding his series on localism, Lord Hanningfield, the Conservative leader of Essex County Council, says councils that hit their recycling targets should be rewarded with a Landfill Tax exemption.

Innovative local councils are central to the delivery of efforts to help tackle climate change. Without the vision – and its practical application – at the local level, the government’s grand strategies will remain just that – strategies.

Our final proposal under the sustainable communities act incentivises innovation to improving waste disposal.

Under our proposals ECC would to retain the money that would otherwise have been paid in landfill tax to fund programmes and improve local environmental sustainability.

Essex County Council pays around £14 million p.a. in landfill tax, but because tax rates are increasing, it could pay as much as £20 million in 2010-11, despite sending less waste to landfill.

Our proposal is designed to strengthen our incentive to divert waste from landfill and redirect it towards recycling and composting, while increasing the resources we have to invest in additional environmental

Of course, under these arrangements ECC would need to satisfy both local residents and central government that it will continue to increase recycling and composting. And that is why we advocate a three year tax exemption for ECC which will be renewed if it meets its recycling targets.

This proposal could double the impact of ECC’s work to improve the Essex environment.  ECC will still have a strong incentive to divert waste from landfill.  But, because of the escalating tax rate, the resources available for environmental projects will grow.

This is nudge politics in action.

> In the previous entry to this series Lord Hanningfield called for more local government responsibilities in encouraging youth volunteering

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