Key decision on BPEO and use of solvents in lime and cement kilns

A High Court judgment in a major case concerning the use of solvent-derived fuels in cement and lime kilns was given in May. Several judicial reviews raising the same fundamental legal questions were joined in the case, and the judgment contains important analysis of the application of the BPEO principle by the Environment Agency and the relevance of EC waste rules where solvent-derived fuels are being burned in a manufacturing process. The legality of the Agency's decisions to permit the use of such fuels was ultimately upheld by the Court, but the legal analysis suggests that at certain points there was significant misinterpretation of the legal duties.

The use of solvent-derived fuels - sometimes known as secondary liquid fuels (SLF) or Cemfuel - as a substitute for conventional fuels in cement and lime works has provoked public concern during the 1990s, and was the subject of two inquiries by the House of Commons Environment Committee in 1995 and 1997. After the latter inquiry, the Committee was highly critical of the Agency's regulation of cement works, though the evidence submitted to the

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