The Environmental Services Association (ESA) has backed a coalition of European organisations' call for a Biowaste Directive amid fears that the European Commission was shelving the legislation.
Six environmental groups from across the continent wrote to the Commission to express their "deep concern" that it was abandoning plans for a directive covering the safe use, recovery, recycling and disposal of biodegradable waste.
The Commission had promised to prepare a directive by the end of 2004.
The coalition, which includes the European Compost Network, the European Environmental Bureau and UK-based RReuse, said in its letter to EU Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas: "The Commission's idea of focusing only on Compost Product Standards for this waste stream is insufficient.
"Standards without complementary strategic legislation on biowaste would not give the legal certainty to address the current financial risks for both the private and public sectors."
In his organisation's letter to Dimas, ESA chief executive Dirk Hazell said: "Biowaste is an important and growing waste stream in the UK and across Europe.
"Returning appropriately treated biowaste to land can result in huge agricultural and ecological benefits.
"It is crucial that appropriate standards are set and enforced so waste managers have the certainty to invest in infrastructure."