§ Mr. Graham Page
Whilst preliminary work in this connection has already been undertaken on a limited scale by the Water Pollution Research Laboratory, my Department is developing a programme of research to investigate the nature and fate of contaminants in the percolate from tips. The detailed requirements are now being examined in terms of literature surveys, laboratory and pilot scale work, the application of the use of lysimeters and the scale of associated work on movement in the unsaturated zone, field work on sites, routine physicochemical analysis, an assessment of physical properties, the development of analytical techniques and construction of mathematical models.
A steering group has been at work in the Department of the Environment and 192W it is expected that the Water Pollution Research Laboratory, the Water Resources Board, the Institute of Geological Sciences and the Atomic Energy Research Establishment will be involved in the programme of work. A research programme extending over a period of three years is contemplated. A number of sites in Great Britain will be selected for investigation to have regard to a balanced range of wastes, geological variables and the relationship of sites to known and potential water resources. The results of this research programme will, in due course, be available to all refuse disposal authorities and other interested bodies and will enable them to proceed to a more scientific selection of sites for waste disposal purposes.
§ Mr. Graham Page
The main recommendations of the Key Committee report will require legislation. The Government have announced their intention to bring forward the necessary legislation in the lifetime of this Parliament. Consultations on this are already taking place with local authority associations and other interested bodies on the basis of the consultation document "Waste Disposal: Proposals for a New Framework "issued by the Department of the Environment, the Scottish Development Department and the Welsh Office in February 1973. Wider powers and duties are to be given to refuse disposal authorities. As a first step in the implementation of this policy, the function of refuse disposal in England was allocated to the new county councils in the Local Government Act 1972.
In addition the advice of the Key Committee on the operation of tips receiving toxic wastes to reduce the risk of pollution from them was summarised in DOE Circular 26/71 (Welsh Office Circular 65/71). In Article 13/(1)(f) of the Town and Country Planning General Development Order 1973, Statutory Instrument 31, provision was made for statutory consultation by local planning authorities with the appropriate river authority in respect of proposals for the deposit of wastes on land.
The Key Committee's recommendations as to the part local refuse disposal 193W authorities might play in ensuring that adequate facilities are available for the disposal of commercial and industrial wastes as well as for the disposal of domestic refuse were referred to in paragraph 29 of DOE Circular 70/72 (Welsh Office Circular 149/72).
The Deposit of Poisonous Waste Act 1972 was an interim measure and provided for heavy deterrent penalties in the event of poisonous, noxious and polluting wastes being deposited on land in such a way and in such circumstances as to lead to an environmental hazard. The Act also provided for a notification procedure in respect of wastes deposited to land except those wastes exempted from the procedure by the Secretary of State.