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Toxic Sites

Volume 177: debated on Monday 23 July 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what progress has been made in making toxic sites safe; what methods are to be used; and if he will make a statement.

In so far as the question relates to landfill sites receiving toxic waste, the licensing provisions of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 require waste disposal authorities to satisfy themselves initially that there are no risks of water pollution or public health dangers and to supervise licensed activities to ensure that this continues to be the case. Authorities have powers to carry out remedial work, should that be necessary, and to recover costs, but there are no central records of such action.In so far as the question relates to problems of contaminated land, such sites need to be made safe by landowners to ensure that there are no risks to public health or liabilities arising from use of the site. The National Rivers Authority have powers under the Water Act 1989 to take remedial or preventive action in relation to risks of water pollution and to recover costs. The Government provides guidance notes on monitoring, assessment and treatment of contaminants and a wide variety of treatment methods can be adopted, but there are no central records of work undertaken.