§ Mr. Chris Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment (1) what action has been taken by his Department and other relevant authorities to clarify to users of ozone destroying substances the circumstances in which these chemicals are to be considered controlled wastes for the purposes of the Environmental Protection Act 1990;366W
(2) what guidance has been issued, and when further guidance will be available to users of ozone destroying substances that are considered controlled wastes, concerning their obligations under section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990;
(3) which authorities are responsible for enforcing section 33 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as it applies to ozone destroying substances that are considered controlled wastes; and what action they have so far taken to enforce section 33 so far as it applies to ozone destroying substances.
§ Mr. Maclean
Section 33(1)(c) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which came into force on 1 April this year, makes it an offence to treat, keep or dispose of controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health. Controlled waste is defined in section 75 of the Act. The Controlled Waste Regulations, which refine and extend the definitions of controlled waste, were also brought into force on 1 April. Guidance on those regulations was issued to local authorities, including waste regulation authorities, in a joint circular from the Scottish Office, the Welsh Office and my Department—DOE circular 14/92—published on 21 May 1992.
Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 imposes a duty of care on those holding controlled waste to take reasonable steps to prevent a breach of section 33. Guidance for waste holders on how to discharge this duty, including advice on how to decide whether a substance is controlled waste, was issued in a code of practice published jointly by the three Departments in December 1991. The definition of controlled waste and the provisions of sections 33 and 34 of the Act are not specific to particular substances or sectors of industry, nor is the advice on those sections.
It is intended that section 33 together with the waste management licensing system in the Act will be brought fully into force on 1 April 1993, and further advice on the operation of waste management licensing will be issued before then.
Waste regulation authorities, as the authorities who will have the duty of granting waste management licences, will be mainly responsible for the enforcement of section 33 of the Act, but there is no restriction on the right to instigate prosecutions for offences under section 33.