The European Commission has referred Spain to the EU Court of Justice after it failed to take measures to close, seal and ecologically restore 61 illegal landfill sites.
Spain has failed to comply with EU waste legislation, eight years after official warnings, at sites in Andalusia, Balearic Islands, Canary Islands, Castile-La Mancha, Castile and León and Murcia.
The Commission is taking Spain to court in an effort to urge the country to speed up its work to close, seal and regenerate the sites, which has not yet been planned, approved or initiated.
Spanish authorities promised to close and restore the illegal landfills before the end of 2011 after receiving a ‘reasoned opinion’ in October 2008.
After slow progress, the Commission sent an additional reasoned opinion in September 2014, urging Spain to adequately deal with the uncontrolled sites, which posed an environmental risk despite not being in operation.
Member states are required to recover and dispose of waste in a manner that does not endanger human health and the environment, prohibiting the abandonment, dumping or uncontrolled disposal of waste.
The Waste Framework Directive requires waste to be treated without risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals, without causing a nuisance through noise or odours, and without adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest.