Budget Statement - environmental issues

29 OCTOBER 2018

Summary of environmental proposals in today’s budget.

Plastic packaging – To reduce the problem of excessive and environmentally harmful plastic packaging, and incentivise manufacturers to use recycled plastic, the government will:

  • introduce a tax on the production and import of plastic packaging from April 2022. Subject to consultation, this tax will apply to plastic packaging which does not contain at least 30% recycled plastic, to transform financial incentives for manufacturers to produce more sustainable packaging. 
  • reform the Packaging Producer Responsibility System (EPR), which will aim to increase producer responsibility for the costs of their packaging waste, including plastic. This system will provide an incentive for producers to design packaging that is easier to recycle and penalise the use of difficult to recycle packaging, such as black plastics

To ensure a coherent approach, the government will consult on both of these together in the coming months. Future revenues raised from these measures will enable investment to address single-use plastics, waste and litter to meet the government’s ambitions for resources and waste. 

Disposable cups – The government recognises the problems caused by disposable cups, which are difficult to recycle and often littered. The government has concluded that a levy on all cups would not at this time be effective in encouraging widespread reuse. Businesses are already taking steps to limit their environmental impact, but the government expects industry to go further and will return to the issue if sufficient progress is not made. In the meantime, the government will look in the Resources and Waste Strategy at the best way to tackle the environmental impact of cups.

Incineration tax. This is not on the cards now, but the government will consider such a tax if ‘wider policies do not deliver the government’s waste ambitions in the future’.

Aggregates levy rates. Frozen for 2019/20 but a declared intention to return to index-linking in future.

Plastics and waste innovation funding – The government is providing £20 million to support measures in this Budget to tackle plastics and boost recycling – £10 million more for plastics R&D, and £10 million to pioneer innovative approaches to boosting recycling and reducing litter, such as smart bins. 

Abandoned waste site clearance – A government pilot scheme will make available up to £10 million to the Environment Agency to work with partners to clear the worst abandoned waste sites that blight local communities.

Landfill tax – no mention.