Some good news for wildlife and local communities in this week’s Budget. Thanks to work by The Wildlife Trusts and its supporters, the Landfill Communities Fund is safe… for now.
The Landfill Communities Fund is made possible through a tax on landfill operators. Earlier Government proposals to alter some of the administration arrangements for the scheme would have all but closed it down, removing a vital source of funds for wildlife and local community projects (£39m in 2016-17 to be precise).
A reversal of the most problematic proposals, which would have restricted who could make up the full project costs (the Fund only covers 90 percent, requiring match funding from other sources), means that we now know the scheme is no longer under immediate threat. We will, however, keep a watchful eye on the scheme to ensure that wildlife and local community projects do not lose out in future Budget iterations or in new guidance on the Fund’s administration, which will soon be published by the scheme’s regulator.
The Wildlife Trusts’ Chief Executive, Stephanie Hilborne OBE, said following the Budget announcements:
“From building an eco-friendly visitor centre in Buckinghamshire, to reintroducing beavers to Scotland; restoring heathlands in Wales; to surveying sealife in Cornwall; there is hardly anywhere in the UK that hasn’t benefitted from the Landfill Communities Fund.
“Yet last year’s Autumn Statement put the scheme’s future in doubt.
“We are very pleased that as a result of our influence – with help from our supporters – as well as lobbying by the industry, the Budget announcement this week means the Landfill Communities Fund can continue, albeit on a reduced scale.”