As an alternative to using traditional landfill sites, builders and construction companies are paying landowners to take clean, uncontaminated soil – which can be used to form the contours of fairways and greens for a new golf course.
An 18-hole golf course may take up to half a million cubic metres of waste material, deposited over a four or five-year period. At prices between £1 and £3 per cubic metre, the landowner could make up to £1m to offset against the cost of the whole project.
Furthermore, a change in the regulations governing the disposal of inert waste, in the late 1990s, means that inert material for landscaping can be used without being subject to the normal landfill tax.
Ian Simpson, head of FPDSavills‘ leisure department in Oxford says, ‘There’s no doubt that some recent courses would not have seen the light of day if it weren‘t for this landfill option. Existing courses have benefited too, using landfill to reshape fairways or improve landscaping.
“It’s good news for golf course owners, as it can reduce their level of debt. It’s potentially good for the golf market, too, providing a self-funding refurbishment option. And finally, it’s good for the environment as an alternative and cost effective way of disposing of waste material.”
Ian Simpson adds, “It’s a win-win situation. The only down-side is that it can take several years to accumulate the material and the cash.”
However, he warns that landowners must be vigilant about the quality of material they take and carry out regular soil analyses. As well as affecting the value of the land, soil that is contaminated with bricks or toxic material could lead to a prosecution.