Uncertainty about impact of transfrontier waste rules

An EC Regulation on transfrontier waste shipments was finally agreed by Environment Ministers on 20 October after almost two years' wrangling. The rules increase the scope for Member States to block waste imports, but leave open the possibility that they could expose themselves to legal challenges if they breach EC free trade rules. Extensive new controls have also been imposed on shipments of waste intended for recovery, and on both imports to and exports from the Community.

The Regulation will replace and extend existing EC rules, last amended in 1987, on transfrontier shipments of waste within, into and out of the Community. Unlike the existing legislation, which covers only hazardous waste, it will apply to all waste, as defined in other EC rules.

The Regulation can only be adopted after the European Parliament has delivered its opinion. This may be done in time for adoption at the next Environment Council

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