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Environmental taxes encourage your business to operate in a more environmentally friendly way.


There are taxes and schemes for different types and size of business.


You may get reliefs or be exempt from some taxes, eg if:

  • you use a lot of energy because of the nature of your business
  • you’re a small business that doesn’t use much energy
  • you buy energy-efficient technology for your business


Climate Change Levy (CCL) is paid at either the:

  • main rates

  • carbon price support (CPS) rates

Main rates


You pay CCL at the main rate on:

  • electricity

  • gas

  • solid fuels - like coal, lignite, coke and petroleum coke


Who it applies to


You pay the main rates of CCL if your business is in one of the following sectors:

  • industrial
  • commercial
  • agricultural
  • public services


You don’t pay the main rate of CCL on certain supplies, eg if you’re a:

  • business that uses small amounts of energy
  • domestic energy user
  • charity engaged in non-commercial activities


Fuels that are exempt


Electricity, gas and solid fuel are normally exempt from the main rates of CCL if any of the following apply:

  • they won’t be used in the UK
  • they’re supplied to or from certain combined heat and power (CHP) schemes registered under the CHP quality assurance (CHPQA) programme
  • the electricity was generated from renewable sources before 1 August 2015
  • they’re used to produce electricity in a generating station which has a capacity of 2MW or greater
  • they won’t be used as fuel
  • they’re used in certain forms of transport

There are other exemptions and reliefs.

Pay a reduced rate

You can get a reduction on the main rates of CCL if you’re an energy intensive business and have entered into a climate change agreement (CCA) with the Environment Agency.

Energy intensive businesses can get a 90% reduction for electricity and a 65% reduction for gas, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), coal and other solid fuel.

Check if your business is eligible. Your industry trade association can also give advice.

Carbon price support rates


The CPS rates of CCL encourage industry to use low carbon technology for producing electricity.


You pay CPS rates for:

  • gas
  • LPG
  • coal and other solid fossil fuels


Who pays CPS rates


The CPS rates of CCL are paid by owners of electricity generating stations and operators of combined heat and power (CHP) stations.


Certain suppliers don’t have to pay CPS rates. These include small generators, stand-by generators and generating stations in Northern Ireland.


CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme


The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (formerly known as the ‘Carbon Reduction Commitment’) covers large, non-energy-intensive organisations, eg:

  • supermarkets

  • hotels

  • water companies

  • banks

  • local authorities, including state-funded schools

  • all central government departments


How it works


You should already be registered if your business qualifies for the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme. You must now:

  • monitor and report your CO2 emissions from gas and electricity use

  • buy enough allowances to cover your annual emissions and surrender them at the end of the year

Emissions trading

The EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) affects businesses from energy-intensive sectors - like the energy industry and certain manufacturers.

It lets you buy and sell greenhouse gas emission allowances to reduce your organisation’s environmental impact.

Large organisations not covered by the EU ETS are covered by another scheme called the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme.

How it works

If your business is covered by the EU ETS you must meet targets by:

  • cutting your business emissions

  • trading emissions allowances

You’ll need to open an EU Registry account so you can trade allowances. You can then trade allowances by:

  • trading directly with other businesses

  • buying or selling from intermediaries, eg banks and specialist traders

  • using the services of a broker

  • joining one of the several exchanges that list carbon allowance products

  • bidding at UK government or other EU member state auctions


Calculate your greenhouse gas emissions


Work out your greenhouse gas emissions by multiplying the amount of energy you use by the (emissions they produce). You need to do this for each type of energy you use.


To do this, you need to know:

  • how much non-renewable energy you’ve used - this information can be found on your gas, electricity and water bills, invoices and receipts

  • the greenhouse gases produced by each type of energy (the ‘emission factor’) - these are updated every year

Capital allowances on energy-efficient items


You can claim capital allowances when you buy energy efficient, or low or zero-carbon technology for your business. This reduces the amount of tax you pay.

Landfill Tax


Landfill Tax is a tax on the disposal of waste. It aims to encourage waste producers to produce less waste, recover more value from waste, for example through recycling or composting and to use more environmentally friendly methods of waste disposal.


Landfill Tax applies to all waste:

- disposed of by way of landfill

- at a licensed landfill site

- on or after 1 October 1996

- unless the waste is specifically exempt.


The tax is charged by weight and there are two rates. Inert or inactive waste is subject to the lower rate.

Landfill operators - what you must do


You need to:

What to pay

The tax is charged by weight. There are 2 rates. You pay the lower rate on ‘inactive waste’ - for example rocks or soil.


Loss on Ignition (LOI) testing regime


If your landfill site accepts waste fines, you may need to carry out a loss on ignition test to help determine the rate of tax to pay.




You don’t have to pay Landfill Tax on:


  1. dredgings,

  2. mining and quarrying waste,

  3. pet cemeteries,

  4. material from the reclamation of contaminated land,

  5. filling of quarries and

  6. waste from visiting forces.


You can get tax credits if you send waste from landfill to be recycled, incinerated or reused.

Aggregates Levy


This is a tax on sand, gravel and rock that’s either been:

  • dug from the ground

  • dredged from the sea in UK waters

  • imported


What you need to do


You must register with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) if your business exploits aggregate in the UK, eg if you’re a quarry operator.


Every quarter, you must tell HMRC how much aggregate you’ve produced or sold.



You can get tax relief if you export aggregates or use them in some industrial or agricultural processes. If you don’t use the material as aggregate it may be eligible for relief.



Certain materials are excluded from the tax, eg soil, vegetable or other organic matter.

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