A survey of Larac members revealed two-thirds of English local authorities expect costs to rise as POPs will be banned from landfill by 31 December.

In order to comply, councils that currently send these items to landfill will need to follow guidance on shredding items such as sofas left at HWRCs before sending the material for incineration.

Costs involved under the new rules include modifying transfer stations to separate items containing POPs and controlling particulates when shredding items.

Around a third of authorities use landfill to dispose of bulky items to landfill and over half send material to energy-from-waste.

Over half of Larac members, 55%, said their authority would not be able to fully comply with the new regime by the deadline.

Respondents reported a range of increased costs, from “several hundred thousand to over a million pounds per authority”.

Larac said this was understandable “given the very short notice given to councils and their contractors”.

The EA informed councils of the rule change in a letter sent in early September. The Environmental Services Association has also warned the EA rules could lead to the creation of “sofa mountains”.

Larac said it wanted to know why it has taken the EA six years to “suddenly decide that waste sofas and settees present such an urgent danger to human health” given that the new guidance “reflects the legal situation since 2016”.

It added: “The poor communication on this issue from the EA could mean that some services will stop, as many landfill operators are saying they will not accept POPs waste in the near future to protect against any breach of their environmental permit.

“Larac urges the EA to enter into urgent discussions on this matter to ensure that the disruption to councils and residents can be minimal and with the continuation of services whilst a solution can be found.”