§ Mr. Benton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what action he proposes to take against the dumping of toxic waste and other hazardous materials(a) in the port of Liverpool and (b) other United Kingdom ports; and if he will give immediate consideration to the proposals set out in the letter to him from the hon. Member for Knowsley, North (Mr. Howarth) of 19 September.
§ Mr. Atkins
Day-to-day control over imports of waste is a matter for local waste regulation authorities. In cases of waste entering the port of Liverpool, the responsible authority is Merseyside waste regulation authority.
Government policy on the export and import of waste was announced on 15 June. In line with the principle of self-sufficiency which was set out in the 1990 environment White Paper, the presumption in future will be against imports of waste into the United Kingdom for disposal, other than in exceptional cases where wider environmental considerations apply. Imports for genuine recovery operations will continue to be allowed. My Department will be consulting publicly on more detailed proposals, in the form of a draft waste management plan, later this year.
With regard to the proposals made by the hon. Member for Knowsley, North (Mr. Howarth) for a national waste disposal strategy, I refer to my right hon. Friend's answer to my hon. Friend, the Member for the City of Chester (Mr. Brandreth) on 20 July, Official Report, column 322, 18W in which he announced the Government's intention to draw up a draft waste strategy for England and Wales. This will aim to provide a coherent framework for waste management policies throughout the country. The draft strategy will be issued for consultation by the end of the year.