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Countdown to hazardous waste crisis: 3 days to go

July 13, 2004 12:00 AM

Sue Doughty MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Environment Minister, has called a debate today (Tuesday) to warn the Government that its failure to address the disposal of hazardous waste will have a disastrous effect on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

On Friday (July 16th) a ban on the co-disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste will come into place under the Landfill Directive. Despite being aware of this deadline since 1999, the Government has failed to prepare and has neglected to properly inform the business community.

Under the new rules the number of eligible sites for treatment of hazardous waste will fall from over 200 to around 10, with no facilities in Wales or the South East.

Commenting ahead of the debate, Sue Doughty MP said:

"It is scandalous that the Government has known that it needed to act on hazardous waste since 1999. Yet days before the new rules come into force, the businesses have not been informed of the changes.

"With few or no local facilities available there is a real risk that cowboy contractors will take hazardous waste produced by small and medium businesses and dump it illegally.

"The lack of facilities will push up the price of disposal massively - with gate fees and transport costs set to soar.

"The business community desperately wants to conform to the new rules, but without the necessary information it cannot.

"With three days to go, it's high time the Government treated this crisis with the urgency it deserves."