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EA accused of weak regulation of new pre-treatment rules

Effective enforcement of the recently introduced Pre-treatment regulations has been questioned by some in the waste industry following the release of a Regulatory Position Statement on the legislation by the Environment Agency (EA). Dated October 23 2007, a week before the regulations came into play, the statement entitled Treating non-hazardous waste for landfill Enforcing the new requirement confirms the EAs light touch approach to the new rules. The two-page document confirms that the onus is on landfill operators to ensure waste delivered to their sites is pre-treated - usually by source separation or passing through a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) - and to check with the customer or producer if they suspect that it hasnt. But the statement adds: Our priority is to ensure that waste isnt turned away from a landfill if it is likely to be dumped illegally. It also states: We will not normally pursue enforcement action for accepting untreated wastes unless the acceptance is likely to cause harm to human health or pollution of the environment. Critics of the soft enforcement approach have said that the EA should have taken a much stronger regulatory stance. That position statement is absolutely diabolical. What kind of enforcement statement is that coming from the Agency? This is a piece of regulation that requires policing but the EA are basically saying they are not going to regulate it, said ISM Waste Services director Peter Allen. The EA defended its position, saying the regulations needed time to bed in. A spokesman said: As with any new legislation the rules will take time to work. We are monitoring them on a weekly basis and when a comfortable enough time has passed we can then start taking enforcement action.

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