The forum includes representatives from central and local government, regulators and key industry stakeholders. It has met six times since January 2003, and established three working groups to consider specific issues: firstly, future treatment and disposal capacity needs, secondly waste minimisation and arisings of hazardous waste and finally a group to pull together the action plan.
(i) There should be clarity and firm and fair enforcement of regulatory and legislative requirements, particularly with respect to the Landfill Directive.
(ii) There should be greater awareness raising amongst business and industry to promote waste minimisation and environmentally sound management of hazardous wastes.
(iii) There needs to be clear information on the likely capacity requirements for treatment and disposal of hazardous waste, and that a task force should be set up to review progress on the provision of this capacity.
(iv) That for the longer term, work should be put in hand to build on Waste Strategy 2000 to develop policy instruments to encourage waste minimisation and environmentally sound management, to develop better data on hazardous waste arisings and develop targets for hazardous waste reduction, and to address issues concerned with household hazardous waste.
One of the key issues explored by the forum has been the ability of the country to deal with arisings of hazardous waste, following the changes required by the Landfill Directive on the way hazardous waste is managed. In particular the ending of 'co-disposal' from mid July 2004 will lead to a reduction in the number of landfill sites able to take hazardous waste.
Commenting on the document, environm ent minister Elliot Morley said:
'I welcome this action plan from the Hazardous Waste Forum. It clearly sets out the issues confronting us. Action is underway to implement the legislation and address the issues raised
I am pleased that the waste management industry agreed to chair the task force to consider the specific issues relating to the provision of treatment and landfill capacity. There are clearly still some uncertainties with respect to future capacity, and government will play its part to put in place the necessary legislative requirements, and to provide the clarity needed by the waste industry.'
The action plan now needs to be followed up and implemented and I look forward to further updates as the work of the Forum continues.'
David Wilson, member of the forum representing the Chartered Institute for Wastes Management and chair of the strategic framework sub group said: 'The stakeholders have done a good job in coming together to agree on the actions, however this isonly the beginning, we now have to continue to work together for the long term'.
Copies of the Action Plan can be obtained through the Hazardous Waste Forum website: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/hazforum/index.htm
The implementation of the Action Plan will be monitored by the forum members through an implementation plan.
The plan lists the forum main members and terms of reference.