Waste and EC principles on free movement of goods

In an important decision delivered on 9 July, the European Court of Justice endorsed the principle that waste should be disposed of close to its source, even if this involves local restrictions which impinge on the freedom of movement of goods. But its judgement is hedged with qualifications, and implies that broad-based local or regional import bans still remain contrary to Community law.

Commission v Belgium (Case C-2/90) concerned a decree issued by the Walloon Regional Executive in March 1987, and later amended in July of that year, which prohibited the storage, tipping and disposal of wastes from foreign countries at authorised facilities in Wallonia. Limited derogations might be granted in exceptional circumstances, and the ban did not apply to depots attached to toxic waste disposal sites. The decree went on to apply

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