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GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES TOUGHER WASTE LAWS

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Robert Atkins, Minister of State for the Environment and Countryside, today announced a new set of regulations to t...
Robert Atkins, Minister of State for the Environment and Countryside, today announced a new set of regulations to tighten controls over waste.

The regulations were laid before Parliament today and will come into force on 1 May 1994. They will bring in new tests of the fitness of those who operate waste sites and will compel site operators to take long term care of any site where they dispose of waste. At the same time the regulations will remove the burden of the waste licensing system from many recycling operations.

In a written reply to a Parliamentary Question from Alan Haselhurst MP, Mr Atkins said: 'The Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994, laid before Parliament today, will come into force on 1 May 1994, when the waste management licensing sections of Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 will be commenced.

'The 1990 Act will then have replaced and updated most of the last generation of controls on waste under the Control of Pollution Act 1974. In the case of the scrap metal industry, however, I propose that the new system should come into force on 1 October 1994. This is to give that industry further time to consider the implications of the new system and to make any representations; in the meanwhile, that industry will remain subject to the 1974 Act.

'The new waste management licensing system will bring real improvements and benefits, putting responsibility firmly on waste operators, empowering local authorities to act to prevent pollution, making more information available to the public and raising the standards of dealing with waste.

'At the same time the new regulations are closely targeted on the potentially polluting operations that need control, and will remove unnecessary burdens and red tape from many small scale activities and especially from many types of recycling.

'The regulations are the outcome of public consultations launched when draft regulations were published in August 1992 and continued since. In the light of those consultations there has been extensive redrafting to meet the concerns and interests of industry, local authorities and the public. The regulations have also been revised to take account of European measures on waste regulation, including a new definition of waste consistent with the European definition.

'The waste management licensing regulations will be complemented by the charging scheme, published on 24 March 1994, (Official Report, cols 395-6) and by guidance in the form of a circular and two Waste Management Papers. The guidance will, for the first time, be on a statutory footing. So this will give a clear signal to industry and to authorities as to the way in which the system is to operate.

'The new waste management licensing system will offer improved, clear, consistent, firm controls on waste. This will benefit the public, industry, local authorities and the environment. I know the waste industry welcomes this new system and I am confident that the waste regulators will use their stronger powers to secure environmental improvements.'

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