Landfill Tax

The Scottish Landfill Tax (SLfT) replaced UK Landfill Tax in Scotland from 1 April 2015, following the passage of the Scotland Act 2012 and the subsequent Landfill Tax (Scotland) Act 2014.

SLfT is a devolved tax on the disposal of waste to landfill, which underpins our efforts to find economical alternatives to landfill that will minimise waste and help to create a more circular economy.

SLfT is charged by weight on the basis of two rates: a standard rate; and a lower rate for less polluting materials (referred to as qualifying materials). The rates are announced in the annual Scottish Budget.

The current SLfT rates are: 

  • standard rate: £94.15 per tonne
  • lower rate: £3 per tonne

SLfT is charged to operators of landfill sites in Scotland, and they reflect the costs of the tax in their charges to the local authorities and businesses who dispose of waste at these landfill sites. 

The tax is administered by Revenue Scotland with support from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

You can get further information about Scottish Landfill Tax, including guidance, forms and revenues, on Revenue Scotland's website.

Scottish Landfill Tax: qualifying materials

A lower rate of SLfT is charged on certain materials which are deemed to be non-hazardous and low-polluting. These are listed in the Scottish Landfill Tax (Qualifying Material) Order 2016. In accordance with section 13 (7) of the Landfill Tax (Scotland) Act 2014, Scottish Ministers have given consideration of the following criteria when setting the list of qualifying materials:

Non-hazardous

Wastes which are not hazardous within the meaning of article 3.2 of the revised Waste Framework Directive (2008/98/EC), unless the material has no practical alternative waste management option and must be disposed of to landfill.

Low potential for greenhouse gas emissions

Wastes which are not biodegradable, have a low organic content or do not break down under the anaerobic conditions that prevail in landfill sites to produce methane. These include inert waste within meaning of article 2(e) of the Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC) and waste with little or no organic content such as inorganic residues or completely combusted residues from the incineration of biodegradable/organic wastes.

Low polluting potential in the landfill environment

This includes all waste where:

  • the contaminants are unlikely to become mobile in the landfill and any leachate produced has little or no pollution potential
  • the pollution potential of the waste is reduced if deposited alone in mono-fill landfill sites or within separate cells (not mixed with other wastes) within a landfill site
  • the engineering requirements for the landfill are lower than would be the case for a non-hazardous landfill (as laid out in the Landfill Directive) by virtue of a risk assessment agreed with the regulator
  • the aftercare period and requirements are significantly lower than would normally be required for a non-hazardous waste landfill, based on a risk assessment agreed with the regulator

Scottish Landfill Communities Fund

Landfill operators are able to voluntarily contribute a capped proportion of their landfill tax liability to the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund (SLCF), and claim 90 per cent of the contribution as a tax credit. In order to claim a credit, the funds must be used for one or more of the objectives set out for the SLCF. More information can be found on the Revenue Scotland website. 

Ban on the landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste

We announced in September 2019 that full enforcement of the ban on the landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) should be delayed until 2025 for both public and private sectors managing wastes covered by the ban.

Work is underway to explore the role that SLfT could play during this transitional period and a further announcement will be made in 2020-21. Whilst a transitional period has been agreed, we remain committed to ending the practice of sending BMW to landfill, in order to contribute to climate change targets and ensure Scotland’s waste is managed in a sustainable way.