UK Floods – 30,000 Tonnes of Water-Damaged Household Goods to Be Dumped in Landfill Sites

Analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, reveals that the equivalent to almost 30,000 tonnes of water-damaged household goods have had to be dumped in landfill sites after the winter floods.

Any items affected by flood water, following the devastation wreaked by storms Desmond and Frank in areas like Lancashire and Cumbria, cannot be recycled as they are classed as ‘contaminated’ and have to be taken to landfill.

Local authorities have visited flood-hit areas to collect household items such as carpets and furniture and dispose of them. So far, an average1.66 tonnes of household goods and freezer waste has had to be removed from each of the 16,500 homes and businesses that have been flooded, the LGA estimates.

The LGA say that this is putting huge strain on the finances of local authorities, which have so far been landed with a bill of more than £2.25 million in landfill tax as a result.

Councillor Peter Box, LGA Environment spokesman, said:

“Councils have been pulling out all the stops to help businesses and households that have been ravaged by the floods. This has included taking about 30,000 tonnes of flood damaged household goods, like furniture and freezer waste, to landfill sites. As these items are ‘contaminated’ with floodwater, councils cannot recycle them and they have to be taken to landfill sites – which is costing millions”.

The LGA is calling for all landfill tax, which is calculated at just over £82 per tonne, to be returned to local taxpayers to be invested back in to projects that will support local jobs and growth, rather than go to the Treasury.

The call comes as communities are still battling to recover from the severe storms they have suffered over the Christmas period. The LGA also hopes the Government will be applying for EU solidarity funding to help those communities who have been affected.

“We are calling on government to allow councils to keep all of this landfill tax. This money could make a major difference in helping councils to continue their sterling work with the massive clear-up and returning households and businesses to normality.

“Councils continue to give their all for flood-hit areas. The sense of community spirit across the country and huge efforts of council staff who have worked long hours and with little rest has been inspirational.

“Even now, council staff are also preparing for the possibility of further severe storms to ensure the safety of residents, homes and businesses, shore up flood defences, and protect road networks and power supplies as much as possible.

“People should keep an eye on council websites and social media feeds for updates on the situation in their local areas.”

Missouri and Brisbane Floods

The prospects facing local authorities in England and Wales reflects the situations faced by local governments in Missouri, USA in January this year, and the Brisbane authorities in January 2011.

After the floods of late December 2015, areas around St. Louis faced clearing up 500,000 tons of debris.

After the floods in Brisbane, Australia, in 2011, around 950 trucks per day were required to take flood damaged household goods to the dumping sites, which is about 850 more than normal.

The Rochedale landfill site in Brisbane usually receives around 800 tonnes per day. By mid January 2011 it had already seen 20,866 tonnes, more than 8,000 tonnes more than would normally be seen in a whole month, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

flood clean up
Flood clean up after the Brisbane floods, 2011. Photo credit: Aristocrats-hat under Creative Commons