Section 545: landfill sites
This publication is intended for Valuation Officers. It may contain links to internal resources that are not available through this version.
1. Responsibility and Co-ordination
1.1 As a class Landfill Sites are the responsibility of the Mineral Valuer. The term Landfill Site also includes Land Raising Sites and Restoration Sites.
This class does not include land at Industrial complexes where waste arisings from the Industrial operations are deposited on land which is contiguous to the Industrial hereditament providing this land is not capable of being separately assessed. This land should be included within the valuation of the Industrial hereditament. (Similar considerations will also apply to Ministry of Defence and United Kingdon Atomic Energy Authority hereditatments). The Mineral Valuer would be pleased to assist in considering whether or not a separate hereditament exists and in the valuation approach if it is considered that the land should be valued as part of the Industrial hereditament.
1.2 Mineral Valuers also have responsibility for the valuation of:-
a. Landfill Gas Collection Sites.
b. Electricity Generating Stations located at Landfill Sites.
c. Civic Amenity Sites.
d. Waste Transfer Stations.
e. Waste Baling Plants.
f. Waste Recycling Plants.
g. Refuse Destructor Plants.
h. Spoil Heap Workings.
2. General Description of Landfill Sites
2.1 For rating purposes a Landfill Site hereditament exists where refuse or waste material is brought onto and permanently deposited on the hereditament. Waste is a wide ranging term encompassing most unwanted materials. EC Directives 75/442 and 91/156 generally define “Directive Waste” as “… any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard …”. The Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 amend the UK definition of “Controlled Waste” to accord with “Directive Waste”.
2.2 Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 makes it an offence to deposit Controlled (Directive) waste on land unless a Waste Management Licence authorising the deposit is in force and the deposit is in accordance with the licence. Exemptions from the requirements of the Waste Management Licensing Regulations do exist and the advent of the Landfill Tax has prompted an increase in the number of sites claiming exemption from both Waste Licensing and Landfill Tax obligations. One area where exemptions are claimed is under the rule allowing up to 20,000m3 of waste to be deposited per hectare where the deposition can be shown to be for agricultural improvement. The absence of a Waste Management Licence or the liability to pay Landfill Tax does not exclude a rateable occupation which must be considered in a traditional rating context.
2.3 Landfill Sites are often located within the void remaining after mineral extraction operations have ceased or land filling may be contemporaneous with ongoing mineral extraction operations in order to satisfy a planning requirement for progressive restoration for example.
Land Raising Sites exist where waste materials are permanently deposited on land above general ground level in the form of a mound or heap.
Restoration Sites exist where waste materials are permanently deposited on land in order to aid the restoration of possibly derelict land to beneficial use.
2.4 Landfill Sites generally fall into three main categories:-
(i) Inert Waste Sites
These sites accept only “inert” material such as brick, concrete, stone, plaster, clay, sub-soils, top-soils etc. However the Waste Management Licence may allow the site to accept up to 10% putrescible material by weight or volume such as wood from doors, windows and joists and metal from pipes and roof trusses which is typical of Construction/Demolition waste. The majority of the waste materials deposited within these sites is anticipated not to degrade or to degrade slowly. These sites often operate the “dilute and disperse” pollution control principle where the waste materials are not contained and any leachate produced is allowed to disperse into the surrounding strata with natural attenuation as the main pollution prevention measure. Some “Inert” sites are however now constructed as containment sites.
(ii) Industrial/Commercial Waste Sites
These sites accept putrescible material in the form of waste arising from Industrial and Commercial enterprise but are not licensed to accept Household/Domestic, Special Waste etc. Older sites may operate on the “Dilute and Disperse” principle but modern sites are more likely to be constructed as containment sites.
(iii) Domestic Sites
These sites accept a mix of Household/Domestic, Industrial, Commercial, Inert and sometimes Special Waste or Hazardous Waste. The waste materials are anticipated to bio-degrade producing leachate and landfill gas. The waste material is therefore generally deposited within an engineered “containment cell” constructed from natural materials such as clay and/or a purpose designed lining material such as HDPE plastic, although some “dilute and disperse” sites do still exist. Considerable cost is incurred in constructing the cell and installing leachate and landfill gas control measures. Landfill Gas Extraction sites and Electricity Generating stations can often be associated with this type of landfill site.
It should also be borne in mind that any of the above general types of landfill site may also accept Liquid Waste for disposal either within the general body of the site or occasionally in a separate treatment facility.
2.5 It should be noted that other Rateable occupations such as those listed in paragraph 1.2 above may be present in the vicinity of a landfill site. Consideration should be given to the occupation and unit of assessment to ensure that the correct hereditaments are assessed. Occasionally Composting Sites may also be found at or near to Landfill Sites and the responsibility for these should be considered on an individual basis.
3. Survey Requirements
Buildings present at Landfill Sites will generally be of a portable nature, although some low cost workshops and vehicle garages may also be found. Referencing should be of sufficient details to enable the VO Cost Guide to be applied.
3.2 Plant and Machinery
Plant and Machinery may vary considerably from merely a weighbridge at a small inert site to a sophisticated rail terminal at major household sites where waste is imported by rail. If landfill gas extraction for the generation of electricity is practised, then details of boreholes and connecting pipe networks should be obtained although under current legislation the landfill gas extraction site and electricity generating station will comprise separate hereditaments. Referencing should be of sufficient detail to enable the VO Cost Guide to be applied.
3.3 Site Improvements
Site Improvements will generally comprise an access road, fencing, area of hardstanding, connection to services etc. Often windblown litter fencing is utilised at household sites.
3.4 Available Void Space
Details of the available void space, together with the estimated rate of waste input, compaction achieved, amount of cover material required and estimated remaining life of the void should be obtained. Note should also be taken whether the void is lined to form a containment cell lining and how the cell lining is constructed. Note should also be taken of any works to reduce the risk of pollution such as leachate collection/treatment works, cement grout or bentonite “curtain” walls, landfill gas ventilation trenches, etc.
4. Basis of Valuation
(i) The Land, Buildings, Rateable Plant & Machinery and Site Improvements should be valued using the Contractors method of valuation. At the present time the cost of constructing any containment cell is not included in this part of the valuation. The decision not to include this cost was taken for the 1990 Revaluation and has been continued into the 1995 Revaluation after due consideration of the available evidence. It is currently understood that this will also be the approach for Revaluation 2000 unless the evidence available from rent returns suggest that the market now reflects the cost of installing Liners etc in the rents passing.
(ii) The most value significant item will be the quantity of waste materials permanently deposited within the hereditament to which an appropriate royalty value is applied. The royalty rate should be derived from available local evidence having regard to the type of waste materials under consideration. In considering royalty evidence, it is often convenient to consider the following types of Landfill Site:-
a. Site licensed for all types of waste including “special” and/or hazardous waste (Full Licence).
b. Site licensed for Domestic/Industrial/Commercial Waste (Standard Domestic Licence).
c. Site licensed for Industrial/Commercial Waste only.
d. Site licensed for “Inert” waste only.
e. Waste disposal secondary to mineral extraction operations in order to comply with planning requirement, etc.
Care should be taken to consider whether the available evidence includes or excludes the containment cell engineering works and the royalty values should be analysed to bare site value (ie excluding containment cell engineering works).
A premium Royalty should not be applied automatically to a site which has a “Full” licence i.e. including Special Waste etc. unless a market for all wastes is available or the evidence from the market place suggests that the site would be let at a premium royalty.
Location may be a critical factor influencing royalty values and should bear close examination.
Due to increasing Environmental legislation the liabilities associated with landfill site operations have increased dramatically. This has resulted in most Landfill Sites being consolidated in the hands of a few large operators often with complicated sale and leaseback ownership provisions. It is therefore likely that there will be limited direct rental evidence and all available evidence should be closely scrutinised. Royalty values should be analysed to cubic metres void space consumed and Occupiers should be encouraged to make their Annual Return in this unit. Where Annual Returns are made in tonnes, it is suggested that a conversion factor of 1.3 tonnes = 1m3 void for all inert material be used, unless the Occupier provides site specific information to the contrary.
The Local Government Finance Act 1988, Schedule 6, Para 2(6), provides the authority for the assessment of Landfill Sites to be reviewed annually to reflect the quantity of refuse or waste material which is brought onto and permanently deposited on the hereditament.