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Fifth of landfill sites to go in two years

MATERIALS

THE UK is set to lose up to 20 per cent of its landfill sites within two years, according to research by BDS.

The quarrying and waste market research firm polled waste handlers nationwide to determine the future of the waste management market.

If its figures are borne out, then the UK will be left with fewer than 300 landfill sites by 2008. This would leave a 10 million- tonne hole in the nation's landfill capacity.

The construction and demolition sector accounts for around 20 per cent of all waste sent to landf ill each year.

Any reduction in landfill sites will have to be dealt with by either an increase in capacity at the remaining sites or by an increase in recycling.

The report cited two main reasons behind the predicted slump in the number of landf ill sites.

The £3-per-tonne increase in landfill tax since April last year has seen sites close as some waste is diverted into other forms of disposal such as fuelling power plants.

But the report also highlights a fear that landfill site owners are struggling to get planning permission for additional space.

In 2005 only 15 million cum of additional landfill void space was granted, with current activity eating into existing reserves.

The report claims that nationwide there are only a few months' spare capacity at current rates of infill.