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

2019-20 is the last scheme year in which Local Authorities in Wales have been allocated landfill allowances. Wales has reduced the amount of biodegradable municipal waste (food, paper, and garden waste) sent to landfill by 91 per cent since the first full year of the scheme in 2005/06.

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

Summary of 2019/20 results

Overall, Welsh local authorities sent 73,294 tonnes of biodegradable municipal waste to landfill compared to the 2019/120 Wales allowance of 330,000 tonnes. This was 78 per cent less than the allowance.

Individual local authority performance

Blaenau Gwent, Cardiff, Denbighshire, Flintshire, Isle of Anglesey, Merthyr Tydfil, Monmouthshire, Newport, Torfaen, Vale of Glamorgan and Wrexham used less than 10 per cent of their allowances, while Swansea used over 80 per cent of its allowance.

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 2019-20 scheme year.