European Court returns condemning judgement on UK and Italy waste management plans

The European Court of Justice has ordered the UK to pay costs as a penalty for failing to comply with three EU directives by providing incomplete waste management plans for the whole of it’s territory up to the year 2000.

Complete waste management plans are required under the European Union’s 1975 Waste Framework Directive, the 1991 Hazardous Waste Directive and the 1994 Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive. The Commission for the European Communities decided to launch action against the UK in early 2000 after it had received incomplete and unsatisfactory plans from the UK with regard to their waste management strategy.

The Commission pinpointed three main areas where the UK’s plans fell short of the directives’ requirements; it alleged the UK plans did not cover all of the UK territory, that not all the submitted plans satisfactorily addressed the hazardous waste directive and that only one plan covered the packaging waste directive. The judgement condemned the UK, and Italy, for their failure to comply with the directives, delivering a successful result for the Commission, which has launched action against 13 of the 15 EU member states for infringement of directives.

The UK Government accepts that prior to 2000 they were non-compliant with the directives. However they claim since the action has been launched against them, they have been committed to producing national rather than local waste strategies, and have now achieved compliance with these directives, a spokesperson for the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs told edie.

The Waste Strategy 2000 (see related story) started the government’s attempts to act in accordance with these directives, setting out waste reduction targets and methods to reach them. More recently the Waste Summit in November last year (see related story) and the Waste Policy Forum in December have seen attempts to sustain Britain’s waste management strategies.

The Environment Agency has called for more recycling and less incineration, wider community integration and greater economic incentives to keep the waste management process on target. The Government is now consulting more with green groups, local governments and the Environment Agency to review their waste strategy and to give impetus to the issue.

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