Gate fees rose in 2009 despite recession, study shows

The gate fees charged for a wide range of waste and recycling treatment facilities have steadily risen from 2007 to 2010 despite the recession, according to WRAP's third annual Gate Fees Report.

Published yesterday (July 29), the document looks at the average gate fees charged in February to March 2010.

And, all types of sites looked at - except existing incineration plants - increased their charges compared to those published in WRAP's previous study, covering the winter of 2008/09. This follows an ongoing trend of growth since WRAP's first Gates Fees Report was published in 2007.

The study is intended to "raise price transparency" and help waste management companies and local authorities to assess their waste and recycling options.


Grade/material/type of facilityMedianRange

Cans/plastic bottles/paper/card



-£5 to £42


Open-air windrow

In Vessel



£11 to £51

£26 to £104

Anaerobic digestion £57£50 to £90

Gate fee only

Gate fee plus landfill tax



£11 to £44

£59 to £92


Existing facilities

Planned facilities



£32 to £79

£78 to £109

MBT £75n.a.
Source: WRAP Gate Fees Report, 2010

Taking regional variations into account, the report states that average gate fees at materials recycling facilities (MRFs) and landfill sites are "substantially lower" than incineration facilities. In organics, the gate fee for open-air windrow is lower than those for anaerobic digestion (AD) and in-vessel composting. And these, in turn, are lower than the average gate fees for mechanical biological treatment (MBT).

The inclusion of the latest AD gate fee - which was up from £52 to £57 per tonnes since the previous report - comes at a time of increased interest in the technology following strong government support to increase the uptake of the material (see story).


Breaking down gate fees by area, the report states that the most expensive places to dispose of material at a landfill site - excluding landfill tax - are Northern Ireland (£28 per tonne) and Wales (£30 per tonne), while the North West of England emerged as the cheapest at £14 per tonne.

In addition to identifying existing rates, the report also canvassed industry bodies to gauge what they considered "key drivers" for future change would be. And, while the recession had not caused a decline in prices, it states that there was a consensus that prices may fall as the UK recovered.

It states: "General feedback suggests that as the UK pulls out of recession, and the cost of borrowing reduces, gate fees may fall for some facilities. However, local authorities are unlikely to benefit from reduced gate fees until they retender their contracts."

And, the document also states that the advent of incentives, such as the Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) and Feed-in Tariffs (FITs), this could lead to a fall in gate fees. For example, the report singles out AD, pyrolysis and gasification - those eligible for double ROCs - as the most likely to benefit.

Looking ahead, the report pinpoints MRFs and landfills (excluding Landfill Tax) both potentially lowering gate fees in the future, with landfills looking to attract material into their facilities and MRFs generating an increased revenue share from the sale of material.

However, there is an argument that - in addition to the increases on prices caused by the Landfill Tax escalator - the increasing scarcity of available landfill space in the UK could lead to operators increasing prices.

However, it does add that some waste plant operators stated that the revised Environmental Permitting Regulations, introduced in April 2010, could see companies attempt to recoup increased running costs through higher gate fees.

Commenting on the report, Philip Ward, director of local government services at WRAP, said: "Now entering its third year, the gate fees report gives an up-to-date snapshot of the waste management industry and its charges. The report again highlights that recycling is still generally the cheapest option as well as being better for the environment."

"The way in which waste is collected, treated and disposed of continues to change rapidly. If this does signal a new focus on improved quality from material recovery facilities that will be welcomed by reprocessors."

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