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Legal aid

It seems safe to say that The Practical Guide to Waste Management Law will soon be an indispensable tool for many who are struggling with the vast array of new regulations on waste management emanating not only from Brussels but also from the UKs regulators. In several regards, this book is a real first: successfully bringing together the many aspects of law for waste management professionals; a surprisingly easy read accessible and jargon free for the non-legal mind; and even including glimpses of humour in the legal references.

Many involved in day-to-day operational waste management, both public and private sector, feel swamped by the number, complexity and overlap of new laws on various aspects of waste management. Indeed, the very scale of the regulatory burden has been accused by some of being responsible for the slow expansion of much-needed waste treatment facilities of all kinds. For businesses, complying with the changing requirements means constant monitoring of the changes which impact their sector. The implications of non-compliance are increasingly serious although the Environment Agency has said recently that fines are not severe enough for some environmental crimes.

Waste management is not a glamorous field, but it is one that is vital to ensure protection of the environment and human health. Encouragingly, there are more and more higher education and vocational training courses for waste practitioners, which has to have positive results both for the industrys performance and its public image. The authors a well-known lawyer and an engineer who together have 40 years experience in the field have made a useful contribution to those raised standards with their clarity, pragmatism and lack of green hype.

The book begins by providing the background to the current legislative situation, which is useful context for anyone who has not seen the gradual evolution of the regulatory regime over the last 20 years or so. It goes on to concisely cover the existing and pending regulations, which all waste practitioners need to be aware of. The definition of waste; and the vexed question of when a material ceases to be a waste, has been the subject of a number of recent cases in the European Court of Justice and the High Court in London issues that the book examines. It also considers current contractual practice, a major source of anxiety and lengthy detailed work for many local authorities and private sector waste companies.

Media reports, tables and boxed text are used to illustrate and explain some of the issues, and the numerous web addresses offer links to additional information. The book covers all the topics you would expect, from treatment and disposal to recycling targets and integrated pollution prevention and control. More controversial topics, like planning issues, are also addressed, with an amusing glimpse of planning practice in Italy to contrast with the proposed strategy-led regional planning system in England.

Anyone involved in the practicalities of managing waste, in whatever manner, will find the book helpful and relevant. Those coming to the waste scene for the first time, students or councillors, for example, will find the book a particularly valuable guide. u

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