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Toxic Waste

Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department receives notification of proposals for transferring ships which (a) might contain toxic materials and (b) have been used for the transfer of toxic materials from outside the UK to yards within the UK to be broken up; and what recent reports she has received on such proposals. [125802]

The competent authority in England and Wales for transboundary movements of waste, including waste ships, is the Environment Agency. As required under Council Regulation (EEC) No.259/931 any shipment of hazardous waste must be notified to the Environment Agency, and their consent to the shipment obtained before the waste shipment begins.

If waste ships either contain or have been contaminated by hazardous waste, they would be subject to the highest levels of scrutiny and controls under the regulation above.

The Environment Agency has informed my officials that they have received a notification from the United States regarding a possible transboundary movement of waste ships for recovery.

1 Regulation (EEC) No.259/93 on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions she has had with the Governments of (a) the Republic of Ireland, (b) Iceland and (c) the Faroes regarding proposals to bring ships formerly used for transfer of toxic substances uncrewed to the United Kingdom to be broken up. [125804]

I have had no discussions with the Republic of Ireland, Iceland or the Faroes regarding a proposal to import waste ships to the United Kingdom for recovery.The Environment Agency has received a notification regarding the import of waste ships from the US to the United Kingdom for the recovery of metals. Any such shipment would be subject to the comprehensive controls provided for by European and UK legislation

1 .

Before giving consent to any proposed import of waste, the Environment Agency will have considered whether the proposed import is for genuine recovery. and that the recovery process will take place in properly authorised and appropriate facilities, including the treatment of hazardous residues. If any waste en-route between the US and UK were to transit the Republic of Ireland, Iceland or the Faroes, (such as by entry to a port) then the competent authorities concerned would also need to consent to the waste shipment.

1 Regulation (EEC) No.259/93 on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community. UK Management Plan for Exports and Imports of Waste.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what arrangements have been put in place for the disposal of toxic waste produced during the break up of ships brought from the United States to the UK to be broken up; and whether such waste products will be returned to the United States. [125805]

Hazardous residues from the recovery of any proposed import of waste would be landfilled or incinerated as appropriate. The disposal of residues is a matter of consideration for the Environment Agency in examining any proposal to import waste for recovery. Before the import can be approved, the Environment Agency as competent authority for the relevant waste shipments legislation1 will have to be satisfied that residues can be disposed of in an environmentally sound manner.UK and EC law does not allow the export of waste for disposal. Residues could be returned to the United States if they were subject to a recovery operation.

1 Regulation (EEC) No. 259/93 on the supervision and control of shipments of waste within, into and out of the European Community, Article 14. United Kingdom Management Plan for Exports and Imports of Waste. P17