§ Lord Kennet
asked Her Majesty's Government:
What is delaying the identification and evaluation of deficiencies in present and abandoned landfill tip sites in the United Kingdom; and on whom will fall the cost of remedying any immediately hazardous deficiencies that may be identified.
§ Lord Strathclyde
There should be no delay in identifying any problems at currently operational landfill sites. Waste disposal authorities are required to monitor licensed activities to ensure that there are no risks of water pollution or public health dangers. The licensee is responsible for carrying out remedial work, should that be necessary, but, if he does not do so, disposal authorities are empowered to do the work themselves and to recover costs.
With regard to closed sites, a general Public Health Act duty to monitor to ensure no hazard arises rest with environmental health authorities. The landowner is responsible for ensuring that no public health hazards arise from the use of the sites and the National Rivers Authority has powers under the Water Act 1989 to take remedial or preventive action in relation to risks of water pollution and to recover costs. The Environmental Protection Bill contains more specific monitoring duties for waste regulation authorities to safeguard against environmental pollution or harm to human health, to take preventive action and to recover costs.