Landfill Allowance Scheme

Information about how we monitor waste management in Wales

Landfilling biodegradable municipal waste (food, paper, and garden waste), can contribute to environmental problems such as leachate production - liquid that drains or 'leaches' from a landfill.

It also releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas, which can contribute to climate change.

Our role

Welsh Government sets limits on the amount of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) that local authorities in Wales can landfill.

Natural Resources Wales is the Monitoring Authority for the scheme and has the duty to report performance against individual local authorities’ annual allowance allocations and the collective total for Wales.

Natural Resources Wales is responsible for reconciling the allowances available to each local authority with the amount of BMW that they have sent to landfill. 

About the Landfill Allowances Scheme

The Landfill Allowances Scheme (Wales) Regulations 2004 (The LAS regulations) came into force in Wales on 1 October 2004 to reduce the amount of biodegradable municipal waste going to landfill sites.

The landfill allowances scheme requires waste disposal authorities in Wales to limit the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that they send to landfill.

The amount that they landfill must be below the allowance that the Welsh Government has allocated to avoid being liable to a penalty.

Landfill Allowances Scheme results

Wales has reduced the amount of biodegradable municipal waste (food, paper, and garden waste) sent to landfill by 88 per cent over the last fourteen full years of the Landfill Allowances Scheme.

You can see the results from previous years in the 'Register of the Landfill Allowances Scheme (LAS) in Wales, 2004 onwards'.

Summary of 2018/19 results

Overall, Welsh local authorities sent 98,651 tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste to landfill compared to the 2018/19 Wales allowance of 350,000 tonnes. This is 72 per cent less than the allowance. This clearly demonstrates work to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste being sent to landfill by local authorities is succeeding.

Individual local authority performance

Blaenau Gwent, Caerphilly, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Isle of Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Torfaen, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham used the least amount of their allowances (no more than 10 per cent). This contrasts with Ceredigion and Swansea whom used over 70 per cent of their allowances.

Data Limitations

A data quality issue has been identified with the formula for estimating the proportion of biodegradable waste in tonnages landfilled. The mass balance formula was not reviewed during the 2018-19 scheme year.