The construction industry will not be allowed to send waste to landfill sites from 2020, under draft proposals announced by the government last week.

Other milestones outlined by environment minister David Miliband include:

• To halve construction, demolition and excavation waste sent to landfill by 2012

• To achieve “zero net waste” at construction sites by 2015, so the amount of waste leaving a site is balanced by the amount of products made from recycled material.

By 2009, clients in England will have to improve waste reduction and recycling to set targets in 50% of projects worth over £1m.

The government also pledged to achieve zero net waste construction on its “major projects” by 2012. The exact definition of major projects is to be confirmed.

Mike Watson, head of aggregates at campaign group WRAP, said: “The zero-waste target is aspirational, but it is important that the shorter term targets be achieved to get to it.”

The government will publish a sustainable construction strategy later in the year to confirm its targets after consultation with the industry.