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Waste Disposal

Volume 167: debated on Monday 12 February 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to ban co-disposal; and if he will make a statement.

No. Co-disposal of wastes is a recognised landfill technique which, in suitable circumstances, can offer environmental benefits. It requires careful site assessment and operational control and these are matters for site operators and regulatory authorities to consider within the waste disposal licensing system.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he has any plans to require companies that dump waste to pay the costs of making waste dumps safe; and if he will make a statement.

The Environmental Protection Bill contains provision that a licence shall remain in force after the final deposit of waste until a certificate of completion is obtained which certifies that the waste regulation authority is satisfied that the land is unlikely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. The licensee will remain responsible for the land until that time and will have to bear the costs of any work that needs to be carried out.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) if he will establish as a matter of urgency a ministerial working party charged with recommending a national waste disposal policy and ensure that the working party represents all interested parties and receives evidence on the widest possible basis;(2) if he will introduce a national waste disposal policy.

No working party is required to prepare national policies in this area.Co-ordinated central Government advice and guidance on waste management is given to local authorities to assist them in determining, in accordance with their statutory duties, local waste disposal strategies for their areas, consulting other bodies as necessary. Additional guidance is being prepared in relation to the proposed duties for local authorities under part II of the Environmental Protection Bill.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will undertake a new national survey of waste tips in England and Wales; if he will take steps to establish a register of old waste dumps; and what action he is taking to tell the National Rivers Authority the location of waste dumps which pose a risk or serious risk of contamination to drinking water supplies.

A national survey is not required. The Environmental Protection Bill contains proposals for waste regulation authorities to seek out and keep records of any land which has ever been used for waste disposal and to inspect and monitor closed sites.Waste disposal authorities are required to consult the NRA over all applications for waste disposal licences, and the NRA has extensive programmes for monitoring ground and surface waters, which are currently being reviewed.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when was the list of waste dumps near water supplies first received by his Department; what prompted an examination of 19 of the tips on the list; what were the conclusions of that investigation; and if he will make a statement.

The recently publicised survey was a desk assessment carried out with the co-operation of local authorities and the then river authorities during 1973 and 1974. Subsequently, as part of a research programme, detailed investigations were undertaken by independent consultants at 19 representative sites. The research report was published in 1978 and concluded that controlled landfill was acceptable in a range of geological circumstances and confirmed previous experience with this disposal method.