Commission acts against UKon waste plans

Delays in preparing a waste strategy for England and Wales, and similar delays elsewhere in the UK, have led the European Commission to begin legal proceedings against the Government.

In November, the Commission issued a "reasoned opinion" for failure to adopt plans as required under the EC framework Directive on waste. The Directive requires Member States to draw up "as soon as possible one or more waste management plans" covering disposal sites, the type, quantity and origin of wastes and technical requirements.

According to the Commission, the UK has notified it of more than 160 plans produced by local authorities. But these do not offer a full coverage of UK territory, and only eight conform with all of the requirements.

In addition, many of the plans do not contain information required under the Directives on packaging and hazardous waste.

Under the Environment Act 1995, local authorities' duties to prepare waste plans were removed. The UK intends to fulfil the EC requirements by issuing national waste strategies for England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, but progress has been slow (ENDSReport 281, pp 41-42).

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