Court overrules itself on meaning of waste "deposit"

In an important case which will be welcomed by waste regulators, the Divisional Court has effectively overturned its 1990 decision in the Leigh Land Reclamation case (ENDS Report 191, pp 37-38 ). In the Leigh case, a differently constituted court had held that the term "deposit" used in the key offence under Part I of the Control of Pollution Act 1974 implied that the waste must have been finally disposed of with no realistic prospect of its further examination or inspection. This had the effect of dramatically reducing the ambit of the offence, removing from its scope a wide range of waste management operations, and subsequently discouraged prosecutions by waste regulation authorities.

Now, in R v Metropolitan Stipendiary Magistrates and others ex parte London Waste Regulation Authority and County Council of Berkshire v Scott (Times Law Reports, 14 January), the Divisional Court has brought back some common sense to the situation, and has held that the Leigh decision was erroneous.

The two cases before the Court concerned waste transfer sites which were being operated without a licence, and since they raised the

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