HC Deb 02 December 1971 vol 827 cc173-4W
Mr. Darling

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will arrange for an inquiry as a matter of urgency into the current research projects of research councils, universities, industries, etc., on the extraction and processing of usable raw materials from industrial waste and domestic refuse, and on the disposal of unusable waste, with a view to co-ordinating and extending such projects in order that he may seek to provide enforceable rules concerning waste processing and disposal of all industries and local authorities.

Mr. Peter Walker

In Circular 26/71 issued on 27th April, 1971, I announced that I accepted that the disposal of waste should be co-ordinated over reasonably large areas and that there should be a greater measure of control. To achieve this end future responsibility for refuse disposal has been allocated to the new county councils in the Local Government Bill now before Parliament Proposals for an authorisation procedure to be operated by the new county councils for the disposal or treatment of all solid wastes are under consideration in the light of the reports of the Working Party on Refuse Disposal and the Technical Committee on the Disposal of Solid Toxic Wastes. Such an authorisation procedure will require legislation.

With regard to reclamation, some research work into the need for and scope of, more intensive recovery of materials from industrial and domestic waste is being undertaken by the Warren Spring Laboratory, who are represented on my Department's Standing Committee on Research into Refuse Storage, Collection and Disposal which is in a position to consider and assess the priorities of various items of research in this field.