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Welsh Government - Landfill Disposals Tax

The Welsh Government has launched a consultation into proposals for Landfill Disposals Tax. Details of the consultation can be found on the Welsh Government website. The submission was in the form of an online form where not all questions were answered. The Geological Society response can be found below:

Submitted 19 May 2015

Chapter 5: Community Wellbeing

Question 28 – If the Welsh Government allocates a proportion of Landfill Disposals Tax revenue to enhance community wellbeing, which of the following activities should benefit from funding and why?

  • Supporting compliance and enforcement and minimising the impact of waste crime
  • Supporting waste minimisation and the diversion of waste from landfill
  • Biodiversity initiatives and wider environmental improvements
  • Tackling poverty and deprivation in communities
  • Other (please specify)

We support the plan to allocate a proportion of the proposed Landfill Disposals Tax to enhance community wellbeing: landfill projects have a significant effect on local communities in terms of environmental impact and the Landfill Communities Fund will contribute towards ameliorating some of these issues. An important area of activity that is omitted in the consultation document is geoconservation and the protection of geologically important sites. Many of our Fellows and people in the wider geoconservation community have expressed concern about the lack of awareness, support and protection of important geological sites in Wales. The inclusion of geoconservation activities in the remit of the Landfill Communities Fund would help to improve the maintenance of these sites and also enhance the public’s appreciation and understanding of this amenity.

Wales is home to vast number of geological sites that are of great importance to research and education in geoscience, some of global significance. They also form a crucial part of the history of geology and serve as a major tourist draw to Wales. Wales is home to many established geotourism sites including National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Geoparks and others. Some of these sites were highlighted in The Geological Society’s 100 Great Geosites project which launched to much media attention in late 2014. Many of the less well known sites represent an important knowledge source to locals as well as people from the rest of the UK and around the world. Time and place are important factors in the study of geology: key geological outcrops that underpin our understanding of the planet we live on are not replicated elsewhere and are unique to a specific location, so conservation of regional sites is very important. They also inspire great enthusiasm on the part of many local geoconservation groups and amateur geologists and contribute to a sense of pride in the regionality of local geology.

Visitors to Wales’ vast areas of natural beauty and geological heritage contribute significantly to the Welsh economy. Aside from the more established sites, there is a wealth of scientifically and historically important geological sites in Wales that are not used or promoted in the most beneficial way. Allocation of funds from the Landfill Disposal Tax revenue to geoconservation could significantly improve care and maintenance of areas of geological importance as well as enhancing access to this public amenity through activities such as raising awareness of Welsh geology and generating branded promotional materials including installation of geological interpretation panels and maps of local sites.