HC Deb 27 March 1995 vol 257 cc468-9W
Mr. Hawkins

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has for implementing Council directive 91/689/EEC on hazardous waste. [16872]

Mr. Atkins

My Department has today issued for public consultation draft special waste regulations and accompanying guidance, together with an assessment of compliance costs and a paper on charging proposals. Copies have been placed in the Library.

The existing regulations date from 1980, and set out additional controls over the most dangerous wastes designed to ensure that they are monitored and safely managed from "cradle to grave". The new proposals implement the 1991 hazardous waste directive, and the EC list of hazardous wastes adopted by the Council of Ministers in December. They also introduce other desirable changes. The key details are: —A new definition of special waste which embraces both the EC List of hazardous waste and any other waste which is special under the current regulations. New technical guidance will be the subject of a separate consultation exercise later in the spring. —Pre-notification to waste regulation authorities of waste movements will be simplified. Wasteholders will be able to prenotify a series of repetitive movements, and carriers will be able to prenotify collection rounds. Where movements cross authority boundaries, wasteholders need no longer notify both authorities. A redesigned consignment note should help wasteholders provide descriptions of their waste and its associated hazards so as to assist sound management. —Fees will be payable when movements are pre-notified, as part of the policy of charging for local authority services, and in line with the "polluter pays" principle. The fees should recover authorities' supervisory costs. —Restrictions are introduced on mixing by carriers and consignees, of different special wastes and of special with non-special wastes.

Subject to the outcome of public consultation, our aim is to introduce the new regulations and associated guidance this summer. The Government believe that the proposals will introduce a useful measure of deregulation, with no diminution of the controls which help to minimise the risk these wastes can pose to human health and the environment.