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    Landfill gas oversight offers funding opportunity for local authorities

    By Accounting for Energy – (3 min read)

    Local authority waste departments face a daunting range of challenges. Charged with driving behaviour change through communications campaigns and assessing the most efficient technologies, they also need to manage the everyday logistics of collections to thousands of households, while staying abreast of waste material trends and prices.

    In the current age of austerity, ambitious environmental goals sometimes seem to work at odds with cuts to service budgets. As a result, councils need to find creative ways to make the most of available funds. Often, a reduction in service, or halt to communications campaigns seem inevitable, but authorities that scrutinise assets – such as the royalties from landfill gas generation – may unearth an unexpected windfall.

    Many different types of organisation are eligible for landfill gas royalties. What they all have in common is a tendency for payments to be inaccurate. Accounting for Energy (AfE) Operations Director Freccia Benn estimates that 75% of reviews undertaken by Accounting for Energy have identified underpayments. The sums involved can be substantial – in 2017, the site generating the most energy produced enough for each person in the UK to charge an iPad Pro daily for a year, and the UK landfill gas industry as a whole adds £400 million to the economy.

    Many local authorities that operate, or have operated, landfill sites, work in partnership with landfill gas companies. These arrangements typically began in the 1990s, when gas equipment was installed across many UK sites. Under standard arrangements, the local authority will own the land, and lease the rights to install and run the landfill gas equipment to a third party. The landowning council then receives royalties based on the level of gas generated.

    Mistakes can be difficult to spot; Travis says that in many cases, it is only the experience of assessing hundreds of past cases which helps auditors to recognise anomalies and encourage them to dig deeper. Examples of underpayment include the wrong indexation being used in royalty calculations, or faulty output data being applied to past royalty results. These cases tend to be spotted through analytical review trend analysis and, once identified, all payments are re-calculated.

    It is not easy to determine exactly how many local authority sites host landfill gas equipment, but AfE estimates the number to be around 25% of the country’s entire capacity. For any organisation, missing out on revenue is detrimental; for local authorities facing budget cuts, a back payment of royalties or new payment arrangements can have a significant impact on funding.

    Councils do not have the available expertise to investigate, and allocating staff who are already stretched to capacity is not an option. However, with a free service, charged on a contingency basis, and funded by the gas generation outfit, all that is needed is the relevant paperwork. The auditors do the rest and, in most cases, all parties benefit. There is nothing to lose and, perhaps, a great deal to gain.

    Related blog post    56% increase in wind farm income for one of the UK's largest landowners

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  • Testimonials


    •  

      “We found your report informative and easy to read, it was good to see how the wind farm is performing and we were pleased with the results of the audit”

       

      Mark Charles, Exeter

      Share

    • “Job well done”

       

      Sara James, Durham

      Share

    • “Early non-payment discovered so very happy with outcome”

       

      Martin Roberts, Peterborough

      Share

    • “Excellent service. The review has given me peace of mind”

       

      Tracy Maria, Cumbria

      Share

    • ‘We found the report very thorough and really interesting and were pleased that the payments have been corrected and appreciate your help with this very much’

       

      David Terrence, Devon

      Share

    •  

      “In every instance Accounting for Energy have identified and recovered shortfalls in rent for my clients. Not only do the landowners receive back payments but they are also keen to show developers that they are being held to account.”

       

      Chris Thyer MRICS FAAV Land Agent, GSC Grays

      Share

    •  

      “We don’t have comparable leases in renewable energy meaning there are few examples to draw from, so it’s always good to have checks and balances in place. We would recommend Accounting for Energy for their diligence.”

       

      Ali Walker Property Co-ordinator, Bath and Wells Diocese, Church of England

      Share

    •  

      “The information provided by the turbine owner seemed to be comprehensive. The issue comes with knowing if all the data is complete and the audit was able to identify areas that we should have been receiving royalties on.”

       

      Ben Ardern Financial Controller, Dewlay Cheesemakers

      Share

    •  

      “I worked with Travis on a set of arbitral proceedings to recover unpaid royalties on behalf of the landowners of a large renewable energy site. I was very inspired by his passion for his industry and his tireless commitment to getting the best results.”

       

      Sarah Bishop, Commercial Disputes Solicitor

      Share

    •  

      “Travis is the go-to person for renewable energy landowner royalty payments. He gets into the details of a case, and is very tenacious in identifying and recovering any monies owed to landowners.”

       

      Grant Jones, Chartered accountant, solicitor and practicing arbitrator

      Share

    •  

      “I would recommend Accounting for Energy because they are clearly experts in this area, and they were good to work with. It was an easy decision to get them on board because we really didn’t have the expertise or the time to be trawling through the lease and power purchase agreement.”

       

      Nick Kenyon, CEO, Dewlay Cheesemakers

      Share
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  • Testimonials


    • “We found your report informative and easy to read, it was good to see how the wind farm is performing and we were pleased with the results of the audit”

       

      Mark Charles, Exeter

      Share

    • “Job well done”

       

      Sara James, Durham

      Share

    • “Early non-payment discovered so very happy with outcome”

       

      Martin Roberts, Peterborough

      Share

    • “Excellent service. The review has given me peace of mind”

       

      Tracy Maria, Cumbria

      Share

    • “We found the report very thorough and really interesting and were pleased that the payments have been corrected and appreciate your help with this very much”

       

      David Terrence, Devon

      Share

    • “In every instance Accounting for Energy have identified and recovered shortfalls in rent for my clients. Not only do the landowners receive back payments but they are also keen to show developers that they are being held to account.”

       

      Chris Thyer MRICS FAAV Land Agent, GSC Grays

      Share

    • “We don’t have comparable leases in renewable energy meaning there are few examples to draw from, so it’s always good to have checks and balances in place. We would recommend Accounting for Energy for their diligence.”

       

      Ali Walker Property Co-ordinator, Bath and Wells Diocese, Church of England

      Share

    • “The information provided by the turbine owner seemed to be comprehensive. The issue comes with knowing if all the data is complete and the audit was able to identify areas that we should have been receiving royalties on.”

       

      Ben Ardern Financial Controller, Dewlay Cheesemakers

      Share

    • “I worked with Travis on a set of arbitral proceedings to recover unpaid royalties on behalf of the landowners of a large renewable energy site. I was very inspired by his passion for his industry and his tireless commitment to getting the best results.”

       

      Sarah Bishop, Commercial Disputes Solicitor

      Share

    • “Travis is the go-to person for renewable energy landowner royalty payments. He gets into the details of a case, and is very tenacious in identifying and recovering any monies owed to landowners.”

       

      Grant Jones, Chartered accountant, solicitor and practising arbitrator

      Share

    • ““I would recommend Accounting for Energy because they are clearly experts in this area, and they were good to work with. It was an easy decision to get them on board because we really didn’t have the expertise or the time to be trawling through the lease and power purchase agreement.”

       

      Nick Kenyon, CEO, Dewlay Cheesemakers

      Share
  • Testimonial with bg


    •  

      “We found your report informative and easy to read, it was good to see how the wind farm is performing and we were pleased with the results of the audit”

       

      Mark Charles, Exeter

      Share

    • “Job well done”

       

      Sara James, Durham

      Share

    • “Early non-payment discovered so very happy with outcome”

       

      Martin Roberts, Peterborough

      Share

    • “Excellent service. The review has given me peace of mind”

       

      Tracy Maria, Cumbria

      Share

    • ‘We found the report very thorough and really interesting and were pleased that the payments have been corrected and appreciate your help with this very much’

       

      David Terrence, Devon

      Share

    •  

      “In every instance Accounting for Energy have identified and recovered shortfalls in rent for my clients. Not only do the landowners receive back payments but they are also keen to show developers that they are being held to account.”

       

      Chris Thyer MRICS FAAV Land Agent, GSC Grays

      Share

    •  

      “We don’t have comparable leases in renewable energy meaning there are few examples to draw from, so it’s always good to have checks and balances in place. We would recommend Accounting for Energy for their diligence.”

       

      Ali Walker Property Co-ordinator, Bath and Wells Diocese, Church of England

      Share

    •  

      “The information provided by the turbine owner seemed to be comprehensive. The issue comes with knowing if all the data is complete and the audit was able to identify areas that we should have been receiving royalties on.”

       

      Ben Ardern Financial Controller, Dewlay Cheesemakers

      Share

    •  

      “I worked with Travis on a set of arbitral proceedings to recover unpaid royalties on behalf of the landowners of a large renewable energy site. I was very inspired by his passion for his industry and his tireless commitment to getting the best results.”

       

      Sarah Bishop, Commercial Disputes Solicitor

      Share

    •  

      “Travis is the go-to person for renewable energy landowner royalty payments. He gets into the details of a case, and is very tenacious in identifying and recovering any monies owed to landowners.”

       

      Grant Jones, Chartered accountant, solicitor and practicing arbitrator

      Share

    •  

      “I would recommend Accounting for Energy because they are clearly experts in this area, and they were good to work with. It was an easy decision to get them on board because we really didn’t have the expertise or the time to be trawling through the lease and power purchase agreement.”

       

      Nick Kenyon, CEO, Dewlay Cheesemakers

      Share

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