A landfill charge on construction and demolition waste, to be introduced next year to encourage recycling, will generate up to $250 million a year for the government. The initiative was one of several announced by Mr Tung as he pledged to continue efforts to turn Hong Kong into a world class city. Others include a pilot emissions trading scheme with power plants in Guangdong, water conservation projects and an ecological database. It is expected the landfill charge scheme will be introduced next year after repeated delays. Proposals will be tabled to the legislature before July. The government could pocket about $250 million, given the 2.3 million tonnes of construction waste that is dumped in landfill sites every year. However, government departments are responsible for half of the waste, effectively bringing the amount generated for the government to just $125 million. The landfill charge is expected to be set at about $125 a tonne. About $69 of the fee will cover the landfill operating costs, while the rest will go towards recouping money the government has already spent on capital costs. Donald Tong Chi-keung, the Deputy Secretary for Environment, Transport and Works, said the scheme was not an attempt to raise revenue. 'The charge only serves as an economic incentive for waste producers to reduce waste,' he said. But Billy Wong Wing-hoo, the chairman of the Hong Kong Construction Association, insisted the scheme was just a means to boost government revenue rather than genuinely reduce waste. He said he agreed with the 'polluter pays' principle but said companies had already paid their taxes and the government should bear the cost of treating the waste.