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Volume 494: debated on Wednesday 24 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what guidance he has issued to the Environment Agency on the account to be taken of consequential environmental impacts that may occur beyond the perimeter of a site which is the subject of an application for a licence for landfill when considering whether or not to grant such a licence; and if he will make a statement. (281998)

[holding answer 23 June 2009]: The principal objective of waste legislation is to ensure that waste is recovered or disposed of without endangering human health or the environment. Any establishment or undertaking carrying out waste recovery or disposal in England and Wales is required to obtain a permit from the Environment Agency.

The Environment Agency is required to exercise its functions for the purpose of ensuring the principal objective is met and may not grant a permit where it considers there to be an unacceptable risk to the environment or human health. The Agency may only grant a permit where relevant planning permission is in place and may impose requirements in permits that relate to the preparation, operation, monitoring and control procedures as well as the closure and after-care of a landfill. The Environment Agency has a duty to take action to reduce any negative impacts that are a direct result of a permitted activity. The Environment Agency's criteria apply both inside and outside the site.