HC Deb 01 February 1990 vol 166 cc244-5W
Mr. Robert B. Jones

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has for a code of practice under clause 26 of the Environmental Protection Bill on the duty of care as respects waste.

Mr. Heathcoat-Amory

My Department and the Welsh Office have today published a draft code of practice for public consultation under clause 26 of the Environmental Protection Bill. Clause 26 puts a new legal duty of care on anyone who has waste, from producers through carriers to disposers. The code gives advice and examples on the practical measures that those under the new duty should take.

Examples of what is recommended in the code include: Waste left out for collection or being transported should not be allowed to blow around or fall off, it should be put in containers or covered up securely; All firms which produce waste should know what it is composed of, or should commission an analysis; Firms should check up on the bona fides of anyone they give their waste to; they should see and check their certificate of registration as a carrier or their waste management licence; If firms see or suspect that someone is fly-tipping their waste, they should stop handing any waste to that person and warn the local authority; If anyone knows that their waste requires special treatment, for example, clinical waste from hospitals—the National Health Service will not be exempt—then they must take action to ensure that it receives that treatment.

The code of practice will be admissible as evidence in court in prosecutions for breach of the duty of care. Anyone convicted of breaching the duty of care will face the possibility of an unlimited fine.

Private householders will not be affected by the new duty as far as their own household waste is concerned.

The Bill's new duty of care and this accompanying code of practice are the most radical step ever taken to ensure that waste is legally dealt with.