Spanish landfills closed

Spain has been reprimanded for allowing municipal waste to be disposed of at sites where environmental impact assessments were either insufficiently detailed or, in one case, completely lacking.

Commission v Spain

Waste Framework Directive and Landfill Directive

Spain has been held to be in breach of the Waste Framework Directive 75/442/EEC and the Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC as a result of its failure to apply the legislation to three landfill sites in its territory. The sites have since been closed.

The Commission asserted that three sites in Spain did not comply with Articles 4, 9 and 13 of the Waste Framework Directive and Article 14 of the Landfill Directive. In this regard it pointed to the fact that one site had no authorisation or plan of the installation, and that therefore municipal waste was being disposed of without regard to environmental protection.

In relation to the second site it stated that the authorisation did not conform to Article 9 of the Waste Framework Directive, and that the installation plan was insufficient for the purposes of the Landfill Directive.

Finally in relation to the third site, the Commission stated that it had no information on the installation and its operation, that no pre-treatment of waste was taking place and that there was no installation plan. Further, the Commission stated that the situation in respect of the sites was persistent and prolonged enough to cause a significant degradation of the environment.

The Spanish government stated that the sites did not contain any toxic or dangerous substances, and were in any event either closing soon or were already closed and as a result not susceptible to the need for authorisations and installation plans and not likely to result in environmental degradation. These arguments were rejected by the ECJ.

The case can be accessed in French here.

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