HC Deb 31 October 1996 vol 284 cc189-90W
Mr. Wigley

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the Government's current policy on the import or export of poisonous industrial waste substances out of, or into, the United Kingdom; what are the latest trends in respect to such trade; and if he will make a statement. [130]

Mr. Clappison

The Government's policies on the import and export of hazardous wastes are set out in the United Kingdom management plan for exports and imports of waste. Under the plan, which is legally binding throughout the United Kingdom, all exports of waste for disposal are banned, as are most imports for disposal other than in exceptional cases where wider environmental considerations apply. Exports of waste for recovery to countries within the OECD may continue but, subject to limited exceptions, exports of hazardous waste for recovery to non-OECD countries are banned. Imports of waste for genuine recovery operations may continue.

The plan, which was published on 16 May 1996 and came into effect on 1 June, provides the means to implement the Government's long-standing policy of self-sufficiency in waste disposal, while preserving legitimate trade in wastes moving for recovery.

Imports of hazardous waste into the UK for disposal in the period 1988–89 to 1993–94 are as follows:

Imports (tonnes)
1988–89 40,027
1989–90 31,918
1990–91 44,517
1991–92 46,920
1992–93 47,018
1993–94 67,993

Some 525 tonnes were exported from Northern Ireland to Finland between 1990–91 and 1991–92. No waste has been exported from the UK for disposal since 1992. More detailed information is available in my Department's digest of environmental statistics No 18 for 1996. The Department did not collect data on shipments for recovery before May 1994. Information on imports and exports of waste for recovery or disposal in more recent years is currently in preparation.

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