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Externalities of Festivals - Is there a case for a new tent tax?

Geoff Riley

30th August 2019

Campaigners are calling for a £25 “tent tax” for summer festivals as thousands of festival-goers continue to leave behind their Uber-cheap supermarket tents (and whatever detritus lies inside them) for others to clean up afterwards.

The average tent is mostly made of plastic - the equivalent of 8,750 straws or 250 pint cups.

How strong are the economic arguments for such a charge? Can you think of some unintended consequences from a tent tax? Are there better options for nudging people to change their default behaviours?

Design is also key - i.e. encouraging innovation to create new materials, designing for longevity, new systems for reuse and rental services, attempts to change social norms - all can play a part.

Geoff Riley

Geoff Riley FRSA has been teaching Economics for over thirty years. He has over twenty years experience as Head of Economics at leading schools. He writes extensively and is a contributor and presenter on CPD conferences in the UK and overseas.

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