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MEACHER MOVES TO PROTECT GROUNDWATER AGAINST POLLUTION

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Groundwater will be given added protection from pollution by ...
Groundwater will be given added protection from pollution by

dangerous substances if new draft Regulations come into force,

environment minister Michael Meacher said yesterday as a three-month

consultation was launched.

The proposed Regulations, which will cover England, Wales and

Scotland, are designed to implement the 'polluter pays' principle.

Commenting on the proposal, Michael Meacher said:

'Groundwater is an increasingly important source of good quality

drinking water, as well as a vital element of our environment. There

has been concern for a number of years that the incorrect use and

disposal of certain substances could lead to pollution of

groundwater. To meet these concerns we have reviewed our legislation

and have decided to consult on new Groundwater Regulations designed

to provide additional protection for groundwater as part of our

continuing implementation of the Groundwater Directive.

'These proposals are based firmly on the 'polluter pays'

principle and are designed to prevent careless use and disposal of

substances which could pollute groundwater. However, it is not our

intention to penalise those who work in line with good practice.

'We intend the consultation process to be a pro-active one and

I have asked my officials to meet with representative organisations

in those sectors most likely to be affected in order that I can make

a full assessment of the impact of these proposals.'

Notes

The proposed Regulations would form part of the UK implementation of

the EC Groundwater Directive (80/68/EEC).

These Regulations would reinforce existing controls which protect

groundwater. The principal new elements introduced by these

Regulations would be:

that disposal or tipping of controlled substances would be

included in the system of authorisation in cases where the existing

waste management licensing system does not apply;

The Environment Agency (in England and Wales) and SEPA (in

Scotland) would have a duty to issue notices prohibiting or

controlling other activities in or on the ground involving controlled

substances where this was necessary to prevent the entry of List I

substances into groundwater or pollution from List II substances.

Those observing statutory codes of practice would not normally be

served with such notices.

The Regulations would be likely to have an impact on a wide range of

industrial and agricultural activities. Those sectors which could be

affected are set out in greater detail in the consultation paper.

The substances covered by the proposal are also set out in the paper.

Consultation on the paper will close on 14 April 1998.

Copies of the paper are available from:

Room A406

Romney House

43 Marsham St

London SW1P 3PY

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