Waterfall at Geltsdale RSPB reserve, Cumbria

Waste tax benefits wildlife

Since 1996, the Landfill Communities Fund has been recycling tax money from landfill waste to environmental projects.

A lifeline for wildlife projects

One of the most successful but relatively unsung sources of financial support for nature and wildlife projects is the Landfill Communities Fund (formerly the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme). 

Since 1996, this brilliantly simple scheme has been recycling tax money from landfill waste to environmental projects around landfill sites and far beyond. 

For nature conservation organisations the Landfill Communities Fund has been a lifeline at a time when funding for the natural environment is being squeezed ever more tightly. The benefits of the Fund are not limited to wildlife activities – it has funded thousands of local community projects ranging from village hall refurbishments to playgrounds. 

How does it work?

The landfill tax is designed to reduce landfill by placing a charge on every ton of waste going to landfill sites, with currently six per cent of the tax available to be diverted into the Landfill Communities Fund.

Originally planned to run until 2004, the fund has been so successful that in March 2003 the government announced a revised version focusing on community and natural environment projects. Although the success of the tax has been slow to take effect itself it is heartening to know that up to £72 million per year is made available for environmental and community projects.

The fund operates mainly through a small number of ‘Distributive Environmental Bodies’, approved private sector bodies charged with assessing applications, awarding funding and ensuring good value for money. 

Some of our most exciting and ambitious wildlife projects have been supported under long-term funding agreements through organisations such as the SITA Trust’s Enriching Nature Programme, Waste Recycling Environmental's Biodiversity Action Fund and Biffa Award’s Partnership Programme.

You can benefit, too... 

If you represent a voluntary group looking for funding support from the Landfill Communities Fund, click on the link to find out more about the fund. To apply for funding, a project has to be eligible under the fund regulations, details of which are available from the website of the Fund Regulator, ENTRUST. 

 Refuse tips, land fill site, Pettigo Plateau, Northern Ireland

Biffa Award Partnership Funding

The rubbish we throw away will be responsible for nearly an extra £1 million being spent on conservation by the RSPB, thanks to Biffa Award.

Biffa Award distributes millions in landfill tax funding to worthwhile community and environmental projects across the UK – here's what we'll be able to do, thanks to them.

National Coastal and Floodplain Grazing Marsh Programme

The grant will pay for improving around nine and a half square kilometres of dwindling historic grazing marshes - a total area of almost three and a half times the size of the City of London - at 14 sites around the country. Over the last 60 years there have been substantial losses in the size and quality of this important wildlife habitat. Grazing marsh has decreased by an estimated 40 per cent since the 1930s.

These sites are invaluable for biodiversity, and are particularly important for the number of bird species they home, especially wading birds like lapwings and snipe. They are also vital habitats for numerous mammals, insects, rare plants, reptiles and amphibians.

About Biffa Award

Biffa Award, a multi-million pound environmental fund, which utilises landfill tax credits donated by Biffa Waste Services, has awarded funding to the RSPB to help 14 conservation projects right across the UK as part of a national programme of work. Our nature reserve at Vane Farm will be included as part of year two of this programme.

Gillian French, Biffa Award's Programme Manager, added: 'The natural environment is important to all our lives. When the RSPB proposed this programme of work, we could see what an impact it would have on biodiversity. We were delighted to award a grant which will benefit wildlife right across the UK.'

To find out more about Biffa Award or the Landfill Communities Fund, please visit their websites.

Benefits for people

Naturally-functioning floodplains are rare in the UK, having undergone extensive changes in the past. As well as playing host to a wildlife spectacle, grazing marshes can provide benefits to the local community as flood storage areas and buffer zones for flood defence.

Water quality is also another current area for concern, which can be helped by the management of water catchments on site or adjacent sites and river systems.                            

SITA Trust - Enriching Nature programme

We are working with SITA Trust on a number of biodiversity projects as part of their 'Enriching Nature' programme.

SITA Trust distributes funding via the Landfill Communities Fund to provide monies for work supporting species and habitats that have been identified by the Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) process. The programme is targeted directly at biodiversity rather than community projects, which helps contribute to the RSPB’s aim to conserve not just birds, but wildlife and wild places.

The SITA Trust programme which was launched in 2005, has made £18 million available over a four year period with £8 million committed 2010-2012.

To date the RSPB has been awarded nearly £3.2 million pounds worth of funding for work on more than 44 projects. Some of the reserves to benefit from their funding are listed as links on this page.

About SITA Trust

SITA Trust is an independent not-for-profit organisation, which distributes and manages funding for environmental and community improvement projects through the Government’s Landfill Communities Fund.  By the end 2008, SITA Trust had committed more than £68m to more than 2000 projects. Find out more via the link.