Waste management and insolvency

In an important test case, the High Court has considered for the first time the legal duties that apply where a company holding a waste management licence is insolvent. The case revealed conflicts between provisions of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 dealing with the surrender and transfer of waste licences, and the duties of liquidators under the Insolvency Act 1986 to realise assets for the benefit of creditors. The High Court ruled that the environmental provisions should prevail - with the implication that companies must continue to comply with and pay for the cost of complying with their licence obligations until the Environment Agency approves the surrender and transfer of the licence.

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