The Government will of course continue to dismiss talk of a crisis. Indeed, the 16 July deadline - for implementation of the landfill waste acceptance criteria and the new hazardous waste regulations - has passed without reports of waste piling up in street corners and forecourts.
But our survey (see p 21 ) shows that most environmental consultants and a third of industrial waste producers believe that companies are wrongly consigning "hazardous" waste as "non-hazardous". In the absence of reliable data, official insistence that waste reduction and improved separation of waste streams are the principal factors shaping the market has a hollow ring.
Against this backdrop, the events of the past few weeks - which have seen flexible enforcement emerging as the centrepiece of UK policy on hazardous waste - appear particularly disturbing.
Three last-minute changes to the implementation package, announced at the end of June, were:
And Ministers may well get away with it. The snag is that the last-minute shifting of goal posts - and the new willingness to commit flagrant breaches of EU law - send entirely the wrong message to waste management companies and their industrial customers. Committing capital to waste management projects now looks riskier than ever - and the inevitable consequence will be slower progress in upgrading Britain's waste management infrastructure.