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Hazardous Substances: Waste Disposal

Volume 497: debated on Tuesday 13 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of levels of illegal export of hazardous waste materials to Brazil; and if he will make a statement. (289686)

The UK was informed by the Government of Brazil of up to 100 containers at ports in Brazil alleged to contain potentially hazardous waste materials. As the competent authority for the waste shipment controls in England and Wales, the Environment Agency commenced an investigation and contacted the Brazilian authorities to establish the precise nature of the alleged illegal activities. The shipping lines contracted to transport the containers from the UK to Brazil agreed to repatriate the containers to the UK at their own expense. 81 containers have now been returned. The remaining containers are due back in the UK later in September. The Environment Agency is carrying out an investigation of the containers and will then ensure the waste is handled and disposed of correctly.