FoE survey reveals official confusion on gassing landfills

The lack of a clear statutory duty on local councils to respond positively to public requests for environmental information has been highlighted by the conflicting responses of waste regulation authorities (WRAs) to a Friends of the Earth (FoE) survey of gassing landfills.1 What data were supplied to FoE indicate that a previous survey by HM Inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP) substantially underestimated the number of gassing sites. The results also suggest that little action is being taken to identify gas hazards from closed landfills.

FoE's survey was undertaken in response to last year's HMIP report which concluded that there were 1,006 gassing landfills in England and Wales (ENDS Report 195, pp 11-12). The report did not identify these, and a FoE request for the information was rejected by HMIP on the grounds that its survey was not reliable and that, in any event, responsibility for gassing landfills rested with WRAs.

FoE then approached the 83 WRAs for the data. On

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