Chancellor Gordon Brown has given efforts to help wildlife a surprise boost in his
He has increased by £10 million the money available each year for the Landfill Tax
Credit Scheme (LTCS), an initiative to help fund improvements to local environments,
including biodiversity conservation.
The RSPB has received more than £8.5 million from the LTCS with money used to aid
threatened wildlife in many parts of the UK. The extra funds could help meet the
government's 2010 targets for tackling wildlife declines.
Dr Mark Avery, Director of Conservation at the RSPB said: "This could be very good
news for wildlife. It will not by any means compensate for shortfalls in biodiversity
funding, but it is a very significant contribution and one that is hugely welcome."
The LTCS was established in 1996 and enables landfill site operators to donate up to six
per cent of their landfill tax liability to environmental projects. The scheme was designed
to help mitigate the local effects of landfill sites and in 2003, biodiversity conservation
projects were included.
The SITA Trust, through the LTCS, last year gave £1.5m to the RSPB to help safeguard
12 species of bird including Dartford warblers, lesser spotted woodpeckers and skylarks,
and improve visitor access at 12 sites throughout the UK. The grant was one of the
largest from the LTCS. SITA has awarded the RSPB a further £1m for wildlife projects
The RSPB has also received more than £2m from Waste Recycling Environmental Ltd,
for a number of projects ranging from visitor centre improvements in Norfolk to
wetland restoration in Oxfordshire and community work in Conwy, Wales.
Dr Avery said: "Landfill tax credits have been a boon for wildlife and an excellent
example of environmental damage paying for itself.
"The new, tougher carbon saving measures in the budget are also very welcome and
suggest the government is beginning to take climate change seriously. But any public
support for biofuels must be conditional on guaranteed carbon savings and proven