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Waste Management

Volume 685: debated on Monday 9 October 2006

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Further to Section 47 of the Waste Management (England and Wales) Regulations 2006 (S.I. 2006/937), whether the maximum volume of waste that can be spread per hectare during a 24 hour period is the same as the volume that can be spread over a period of one month.[HL7090]

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why the Environment Agency is set to charge £3,500 per site for the implementation of the integrated pollution and prevention control regulations; and whether they have made an assessment of the charges per site in other European Union member states, in particular in Belgium where the charge is £250.[HL7126]

Since the implementation of the pollution prevention and control (PPC) regime in 2000, the Environment Agency has been charging for applications for permits and annually for compliance. The level of charges depends on the activities carried out at the installation. The charging scheme is subject to annual public consultation and ministerial approval.

These charges are set according to the “polluter pays principle” whereby the agency is obliged to fully recover all its costs of regulation from those it regulates, without public subsidy.

We have not carried out an assessment of the charges in other member states. Furthermore, direct comparisons across a wide range of sometimes complex installations in different member states can be very difficult.

Nevertheless, we are aware that other EU member states have different mechanisms for recovering their costs, including through higher general taxation. It is for the individual member state to decide the most appropriate way of recovering these costs.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they are taking to combat the emission of dioxins and furans resulting from domestic combustion of waste products and bonfires; and [HL7363]

What percentage of the United Kingdom's emissions of dioxins and furans is caused by (a) incinerators, and (b) domestic combustion of waste products and bonfires.[HL7364]

Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins and dibenzofurans (referred to collectively as dioxins here) are a group of 210 closely related toxic chemicals that can be formed as by-products in some chemical processes and in various combustion processes.

The most recent available data on the emissions of dioxins to air are from 2003 and are available from the National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory funded by Defra ( Estimated emissions of dioxins from municipal waste incineration made up less than 1 per cent of the UK’s total emissions for that year, while residential combustion plants made up approximately 1.5 per cent. However, it should be noted that emission factors from open burning, bonfires and domestic combustion are known to be particularly uncertain.

Measures that have already been taken to reduce dioxin emissions include controls on industrial processes such as incineration, on open agricultural burning and on emissions from vehicles. Such measures have led to substantial decreases in the levels of dioxins in the UK over the past 10 years.

The UK is in the process of developing a UK dioxins action plan which will set out the current situation on dioxins and will identify priorities for future actions. The action plan will be based on the results of a public consultation carried out by Defra in 2002 on dioxins and dioxin-like polychlorinated biphenyls in the UK environment (available on the Defra website at:, and input from a dioxins strategy group which was established to inform its development.

The dioxins action plan will form a substantial part of the UK's national implementation plan for the Stockholm convention on persistent organic pollutants. This is a global treaty which aims to protect human health and the environment from exposure to certain substances and includes dioxins. The Government intend to go to public consultation on the UK national implementation plan later this year.