17 March 2005
17 March 2005
CONFUSION AND LACK OF FUNDING MAY HAMPER PROPER DISPOSAL OF DANGEROUS WASTE, SAY MPs
Waste policy and the Landfill Directive Report
Uncertainty and lack of information are putting targets for reducing landfill in doubt, say the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee in a report out today, Thursday 17th of March.
The all party group of MPs received evidence that nearly 700,000 tonnes of hazardous waste remain unaccounted for after recent changes to regulations ended the co-disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste, which may cause serious problems. The MPs suggest this is tackled in the short term through more effective enforcement of regulation and say stronger enforcement of waste policy is essential if increased penalties are not to have the perverse effect of encouraging more illegal disposal.
The MPs say the Environment Agency needs extra funding to be able to efficiently handle the increased demands being placed on it, and particularly to tackle fly-tipping and effectively police the disposal of hazardous waste. Better information about waste streams is also needed.
The Committee remains unconvinced that Defra's ambitious targets for reducing the amount of waste going to landfill will be met and suggest that Defra needs to set out a clear strategy, complete with proper statistics on waste disposal, for how they will be achieved. Local government needs more funding, and the Government needs to established a clearer regulatory environment to ensure adequate capital investment in additional waste treatment capacity.
The Committee also calls for an increase in the landfill tax, to £35 a tonne, to increase the incentive for change and to generate additional funds to tackle waste. It supports household incentive schemes by local authorities and variable charging for household waste, among other approaches to tackling the amount of household waste put out for disposal.
Michael Jack said: "What this report confirms is that Britain continues to face an ever more complex and growing challenge about how to deal with both household and industrial waste. At the same time, compared to, for instance, climate change, this subject is in the low profile column. The Government has subcontracted the delivery of its waste policies to organisations such as the Environment Agency and local Authorities, which still seem to be short of the resources they need to make current policies on issues such as recycling and the control of fly-tipping really work. Given the limits now imposed on landfill, the Government must step forward and give real leadership in determining whether processes like incineration really can play a major role in dealing with Britain's ever-mounting volume of waste."
NOTES FOR EDITORS
The Waste policy and the Landfill Directive Report is published on 17 March 2005 at 11am.
The full report will be available on our website from around 3.30 pm on 17 March. Website: http://www.parliament.uk/efracom. It is also available from the usual outlets, including the Stationery Office bookshops (reference: Fourth Report of the Committee, Session 2004-05, HC 102).
Information about the Committee can also be obtained from 020 7219 5774.