Case C-449/03 Commission v France: France in breach of waste tip operating rules

Following a petition to the European Parliament, the Commission commenced investigations into a wild tipping site operated by the municipality of Saint-Laurent du Maroni in French Guiana which was alleged to be causing deterioration of the environment over a prolonged period of time.

Judgement was given in the case of the European Commission v France on 10 March 2005.
The French Republic had not taken steps to close down the illegal tip, to regulate it in the appropriate manner, or to implement measures to ensure that the waste was deposited in an authorised tip. A reasoned opinion was therefore issued on 27 June 2002 requesting the French Republic to take the necessary measures within 2 months in order to ensure compliance with the Waste Framework Directive (Directive 75/442/EC).

France was held to be in breach of Directive 75/442/EC on three counts.

Firstly by failing to issue a permit for the operation of the waste tip situated within the limits of the municipality of Saint-Laurent du Maroni, the French Republic has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 9 of the Directive.

Secondly, by refraining from taking the necessary measures to ensure that the waste within the tip was treated or disposed of without endangering human health and without using processes or methods which might harm the environment, the French Republic has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 4 of the Directive.

Finally, by failing to take the necessary measures to ensure that the operator of the tip itself treat or dispose of waste or have it handled by a private or public waste collector, the French Republic has failed to fulfil its obligations under Article 8 of the Directive.

The European Court of Justice therefore condemned France for failing to ensure compliance with Articles 4, 8 and 9 of the Waste Framework Directive 75/442/EEC in its overseas territory of French Guiana. The judgement of the case is currently only available in French though should shortly be available in English through the following link: www.curia.eu.int/en/content/juris/index_form.html


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