HC Deb 13 February 2004 vol 418 cc144-5W
Joan Walley

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of disposal costs per tonne of contaminated soils to landfill after July; what assessment she has made of additional treatment facilities required by July; and if she will make a statement. [152542]

Mr. Morley

It is estimated that, from mid July, the requirements of the Landfill Directive could increase the disposal costs per tonne for contaminated soils to landfill by between 10 per cent. to 100 per cent. depending on the degree and type of contamination.

The treatment and disposal facilities required will depend on the volume of contaminated soil arising which in turn will be affected by a number of factors which include: The classification of more contaminated soil as hazardous under the revised hazardous waste list. The expected increase in disposal costs will provide a greater incentive to minimise, recycle and re-use waste and shift the management of waste up the waste hierarchy. The greater incentive for on-site treatment, which can decrease the demand for landfill. The requirement in the Landfill Directive for all waste to be pretreated before landfill — this can both increase and decrease the volume for disposal.

Furthermore, the types of any additional facilities that will be required will be site-specific and based on a number of variables such as size of the site and type of contaminate within the soil. The Hazardous Waste Forum task force on treatment and disposal capacity is currently assessing all these interlinking factors, continues to monitor closely the provision of facilities, and will advise on the issues that need to be addressed so that all waste is subject to environmentally sound management and disposal. Overall the Government's policy is to reduce the UK's reliance on landfill, which, as well as its negative environmental impacts, makes little practical use of waste and is a missed opportunity to recover value from waste.

Mr. Hoyle

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what grounds landfill sites can be closed. [153889]

Mr. Morley

Landfill sites can be closed in the following circumstances:

  1. (i) When the conditions specified in the landfill permit are satisfied (e.g. the site is full);
  2. (ii) When the Environment Agency approves the initiation of the closure procedures following a request from the operator; or
  3. (iii) By a reasoned decision of the Environment Agency to initiate closure procedures (e.g. because the requirements of the landfill permit are not being met).

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