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Waste Disposal: Hazardous Substances

Volume 502: debated on Monday 7 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many waste treatment sites treat toxic waste; at what distance from the nearest residential building each such site is located; and if he will make a statement. (303829)

There are 224 sites that treat hazardous waste. I have arranged for a list of these sites to be placed in the Library of the House.

The centrally available distance data in this list are derived from the system that the Environment Agency uses as part of the risk assessment it carries out before authorising permits for sites. The permitting system is intended to ensure that the waste operations it authorises are carried out in a way that protects human health and the environment. The distances are not limited to residential buildings and cover a far wider range of potential receptors such as commercial and industrial premises, playing fields and parks as well as housing.

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what definition his Department uses of (a) toxic and (b) hazardous waste; and if he will make a statement. (303830)

Hazardous waste is defined by reference to the European Commission’s definition of hazardous waste which is based on the list set out in EC Decision 2000/532/EC. Essentially hazardous waste displays one or more of the hazardous properties that are set out in EC legislation at above specified thresholds and which may cause harm to human health or the environment if not managed in an appropriately controlled manner.

Toxicity is one of the properties that may make a waste hazardous. Toxic substances and preparations are those which, if they are inhaled or ingested, or if they penetrate the skin, may involve serious acute or chronic health risks or even death.