Narrow scope, long lead-in for chemical release inventory

Proposals to set up an inventory of industrial releases to the environment were issued by the Department of the Environment (DoE) on 26 November. The inventory will provide aggregated annual data on releases from processes controlled by HM Inspectorate of Pollution (HMIP). Criticisms of the proposals are likely to focus on the exclusion of polluting processes which are outside the scope of integrated pollution control (IPC), the long lead-time for a comprehensive national inventory, and the apparent absence of any intention to provide aggregated release data on a company basis. Some aspects of the inventory rules are also confusing.

The proposals for a Chemical Release Inventory (CRI) are derived from the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) introduced in the USA in 1987.

The TRI has proved a powerful force for environmental improvement by enabling environmental and local citizens groups to bring pressure to bear on companies to introduce release reduction programmes. Many major US firms have responded by announcing improvement targets.

Within the past year, the Europ

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