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LANDFILL WASTE LEVELS TO BE CUT

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An important step towards cutting by a third the amount of ...
An important step towards cutting by a third the amount of

biodegradable municipal waste used for landfill was announced today

by environment minister Michael Meacher.

Mr Meacher launched a consultation paper seeking the views of all

involved in achieving the waste disposal targets set out in the EC

Landfill Directive. This requires us to cut the amount of

biodegradable waste, over the next two decades, to a third of the

amount of such waste produced in 1995.

The aim of the targets is to reduce the amount of biodegradable

materials in landfills, and hence the amount of methane gas

generated. Landfills are an important contributor to emissions of

methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Reducing our reliance on landfill

is also one of the aims set out in the draft waste strategy A way

with waste. The directive's targets will help to promote this.

The consultation paper sets out the options being considered by the

government which is now seeking the views of industry, local

authorities and others. The results will be announced in the final

waste strategy, to be issued early in 2000.

The options put forward for views include:

- a ban on the landfill of all biodegradable municipal waste

- a ban on the landfill of certain types of biodegradable municipal

waste

- permits for operators of landfill sites to accept biodegradable

municipal waste

- permits for waste disposal authorities to send biodegradable

municipal waste to landfill

- the role of the landfill tax

Announcing the consultation at the Local Government Association

Climate Change Conference, Mr Meacher said:

'At the moment most municipal waste is sent to landfill, so these

targets are challenging. Significant amounts of municipal waste will

need to be diverted to recycling, composting, energy from waste and

other emerging technologies as a result. The Directive's targets

should also act as an incentive to reduce the amount of municipal

waste we produce.'

NOTES

1. The 'EC Landfill Directive' is Council Directive 1999/31/EC, and

was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on

16 July 1999.

2. Article 5 of the Directive, Waste and Treatment not acceptable in

landfills, states:

- Member States shall set up a national strategy for the

implementation of the reduction of biodegradable waste going to

landfills, not later than [16 July 2003] and notify the Commission of

this strategy. This strategy should include measures to achieve the

targets set out [below] by means of in particular, recycling,

composting, biogas production or materials/energy recovery.

- Not later than [16 July 2006], biodegradable municipal waste going

to landfills must be reduced to 75% of the total amount (by weight)

of biodegradable municipal waste produced in 1995 or the latest year

before 1995 for which standardised EUROSTAT data is available.

- Not later than [16 July 2009], biodegradable municipal waste going

to landfills must be reduced to 50% of the total amount (by weight)

of biodegradable municipal waste produced in 1995 or the latest year

before 1995 for which standardised EUROSTAT data is available.

- Not later than [16 July 2016], biodegradable municipal waste going

to landfills must be reduced to 35% of the total amount (by weight)

of biodegradable municipal waste produced in 1995 or the latest year

before 1995 for which standardised EUROSTAT data is available.

- Member States which in 1995 or the latest year before 1995 for

which standardised EUROSTAT data is available put more than 80% of

their collected municipal waste to landfill [such as the UK] may

postpone the attainment of the targets set out in paragraphs (a), (b)

or (c) by a period not exceeding four years.'

3. The consultation paper title is: Limits for Landfill: A

consultation paper on limiting landfill to meet the EC Landfill

Directive's targets for the landfill of biodegradable municipal

waste.

4. To obtain a copy of the consultation paper, please visit the DETR

website at: http://www.detr.gov.uk or contact:

Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

DETR Free Literature

PO Box 236

Wetherby

LS23 7NB

Telephone 0870 1226 236 or Fax 0870 1226 237

Please quote 'Limiting Landfill, code 99EP0394'.

5. To aid the consultation process, DETR will be hosting a couple of

seminars in late October (details are with the consultation paper).

6. The draft waste strategy A way with waste, a draft waste strategy

for England and Wales was issued for consultation in June 1999. The

final waste strategy is to be issued at the beginning of 2000.

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