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Merseyside set to send 250,000 tonnes annually to new landfill site- COMMENT UPDATE

Despite huge EU fines looming for authorities who landfill waste, Merseyside is set to send up to 300,000 tonnes a year to an old quarry site in North Wales.

While authorities face massive punishments for the practice, Merseysides five councils are pressing ahead with plans to send its waste across the border to Clwyd.

The local authority was one of five named and shamed in a recent National Audit Office (NAO) study and said to be struggling to meet the diversion targets set for 2010.

As the worst offender, Merseyside faces annual fines of £30 million, with the NAO report stating that it has no chance of finding alternative disposal routes before drastic penalties are applied in 2010.

But despite this warning, Merseyside Waste Holdings (MWH) which is the contractor for Merseyside Waste Disposal Authority is on the brink of gaining permission to use Hafod Quarry, Johnstown in Clwyd.

MWH managing director Rob Allan said: The site is currently undergoing final construction quality assurance approval, but we hope to be given the go-ahead very soon.

We will then start sending waste to the site in the very, very near future. Our license says we can send a maximum of 300,000 tonnes a year to the site, but it is more likely we will see a figure nearer 250,000 tonnes per annum going there.

Local councillors reacted with fury to the news with Clwyd South MP Martyn Jones intending to write to Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs David Miliband and his Welsh Assembly Government counterpart Carwyn Jones to seek their opinion on where the move stands in relation to EU and UK landfill policy.

Jones said: Mersey Waste Holdings are again flying in the face of Government and European Union policy by pressing ahead with plans to dump their waste in my constituency.

They are demonstrating a blatant disregard for current thinking. The report [NAO study] applies solely to England. However, MWH gives the impression that because they intend to landfill in Wales, they can somehow escape this reports findings. They are going to be in for quite a shock.

Wales already accepts nearly a million tonnes of international waste a year and organisations such as Friends of the Earth Cymru believe that if the practice continues, the country will be full to bursting point in a matter of years.
17/08/2006: Fining the Merseyside authorities in reality means that the local taxpayer ends up having to pay more rates. There is insufficient information in the article to know the recycling actions of the contractor but should not the fine be on the contractor? Perhaps a different contractor could achieve the recycling even at a higher annual cost as somebody is going to have to pay the up to £30m fine.
Posted by Chris Curtis

17/08/2006: Why is there no mention of the WET Act and LATS? If Merseyside can buy enough LATS allowances, then England will not be in default and there will be no penalties.
Posted by Richard Hobbs


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