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Volume 409: debated on Friday 18 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage of landfill sites will be full by 2010; and what alternative methods of disposal will be used once waste landfill sites are filled. [125573]

The Government is committed to reducing the UK's reliance on landfill, which makes little practical use of waste and is a missed opportunity to recover value from waste. The landfilling of waste sits at the bottom of the waste hierarchy and in Waste Strategy 2000 and its subsequent response to the Strategy Unit Report "Waste Not Want Not" Government has set out a range of policies to promote the reduction, re-use, recycling and recovery of waste in order to divert it from landfill. The demand for landfill in 2010 and the availability of landfill sites to deal with that demand is therefore impossible to predict, although the impact of Government policies, including the targets in the proposed Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme should result in lower demand.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of which landfill sites in England are in need of remedial measures to combat the effects of pollution; how much this will cost; who will pay; what steps have been taken to prevent future problems of this kind; and if she will make a statement. [126169]

Until recently, landfill sites were licensed under the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994. Under this system, the Environment Agency is obliged to ensure that, when issuing a waste management licence, the activities to which the licence relate do not cause pollution of the environment, harm to health or serious detriment to the amenities of the locality. The Agency is also obliged to modify the conditions of the licence if it appears that these impacts could be caused by the continuation of the landfill activities. If remedial measures are needed, it is for the licence holder to cover the cost of these, and the cost will vary depending on the nature of the works needed. No national figures have been collated on the actual numbers of landfills where modifications specifically to tackle pollution have taken place.The Landfill Directive introduced stringent new standards for landfill sites to protect the environment. The Environment Agency has begun re-permitting all landfill sites under the Landfill (England and Wales) Regulations 2002. The programme is expected to be completed by March 2007. As part of this process, all operational sites needed to submit a Conditioning Plan to the Agency by July 2002 which gave an outline of the measures that need to be taken by each site to meet the new standards. These plans are available on the Agency's public register.The Government assessed the cost of meeting the Landfill Directive in a Regulatory Impact Assessment. We estimated that the Directive brought forward a number of requirements that will add between £2.20 and £4.40 per tonne to the mean cost of waste disposal, with costs ranging from £0 to £120 per tonne for specific waste streams. These costs will largely be passed back to the waste producers, reflecting the polluter pays principle, and will provide a further incentive to waste producers to reuse, recycling or otherwise minimise their waste production.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the remaining capacity of landfill sites in the UK. [126770]

This Department has not conducted an exercise to determine the remaining capacity of landfill sites. The information that is available on the number of landfill sites in England and Wales comes from the conditioning plan exercise carried out by the Environment Agency. The number of landfill sites that will remain operational after July 2002 and after 2004, broken down by classification (hazardous, nonhazardous and inert) and by region, is as follows:

RegionNon-hazardousInertHazardous (post 2002)Hazardous (post 2004)
North East89583911
North West4937278
South West3946161