The leader of the county council has slammed government plans to enforce a tax on burning waste in a bid to tackle plastic pollution.

A new tax on waste incineration is being considered by the government to increase plastic recycling and reduce the amount that ends up in the ocean.

Waste companies would be required to pay tax per tonne of plastic they burn and encouraged to invest in new technologies that can turn plastic packaging into new products.

However at a meeting of Bucks County Council’s (BCC) cabinet yesterday (July 10), leader Martin Tett said the move would penalise companies who have invested in producing energy from burning waste.

Cllr Tett has sent a joint letter with the president of the association of directors, environment, economy, planning and transport (ADEPT) to the government opposing the plans.

He said: “Hopefully on behalf of Bucks and other councils across the county I made the point of saying we feel this would be an inappropriate tax, because it actually penalises those of us who have invested heavily in energy from waste which generates a lot of electricity and combined heat and power and so on.

“If anything it will drive people back to things like landfill, which would be a retrograde step.”

Cabinet member for planning and environment, Cllr Bill Chapple, said the tax “goes against logic”, adding he will do everything in his power “to make sure it doesn’t happen”.

He said: “Those of us will remember the setting up of the incinerator in the first place to allow energy from waste.

“We were paying extraordinary fees in landfill tax going into our sites in Bucks, and this was to bring us round to saving £50 million, which it is on track to do.

“Putting in an incinerator tax goes against logic, and I will be doing all I can do to make sure that doesn’t happen.”