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Air Pollution (South Essex)

Volume 406: debated on Friday 23 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will instruct the Environment Agency immediately to implement legal action against those responsible for the pungent odours in South Essex and pursue that action as forcefully as possible with no loss of time. [114661]

Responsibility for enforcing the Waste Management Licensing Regulations rests with the Environment Agency. The Agency has served a legal Notice on the site operators, under section 42 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, requiring them to take a number of steps to comply with the conditions in their Waste Management Licence and prevent odours leaving the landfill site. These include significant remedial measures to prevent the generation of odour from the central leachate lagoon, which is believed to be the main source of sulphide gases. The Agency will be monitoring the implementation of this programme extremely tightly through regular site inspections and on-going dialogue with the operating company.The Agency is currently gathering admissible evidence from the site and consideration is being given as to whether prosecution is appropriate at this stage.