Landfill operators get in shape to meet deadline for site Conditioning plans
By July 2002 operators of landfill sites will have to submit a Site Conditioning Plan to the Environment Agency to meet the requirements of the Landfill Directive and to avoid the risk of committing a criminal offence. The Agency is assisting landfill operators through a Conditioning Plan Pack and a series of workshops around the country
The conditioning plan must include details of the site and of any corrective measures that the operator is intending to provide to meet the requirements of the Directive. The Agency sees the issuing of the Plan Pack as focusing the operators'attention on what they may have to do.
The Agency will assess and evaluate the completed plans and sites will be ranked, with a high priority for sites dealing with hazardous waste or posing a potential risk to the habitat.
Under the draft Regulations, the Agency's review of the completed Conditioning Plans, will be used to decide several main issues:
- whether the landfill should close as soon as possible under its current authorisation,
because there is no realistic prospect that it will meet the prescribed standards
- whether the landfill may continue operating provided that a completed application under the PPC Regulations is received by a specified date, and the application subsequently granted
- when, on the basis of the risk of the site to the environment, a permit application
must be made. All operators will know the deadline for making their permit application
by March 2003. The highest risk sites will be required to submit applications
first; they will be informed by autumn 2002 of when they need to make their
Criminal offence warning
The Agency told LAWE that it was not looking to close sites, but it warns: "It is likely to be a criminal offence to accept waste for disposal at a landfill site after 16 July 2002 unless the operator has submitted a conditioning plan."
The Environment Agency says that it is issuing the form and guidance now, in advance of the Landfill Regulations, to allow operators to prepare their conditioning plan within this time scale.
After finalisation of the Landfill Regulations, the final conditioning plan will form part of an operator's regulatory pack, which will also include a Landfill Directive regulatory guidance note: classification of sites. This defines the three classes of landfills that will exist, indicates when classification will occur and outlines how the Agency interprets the implications of classification.
The regulatory pack will also include PPC technical guidance for the landfill sector. This will only be of direct relevance to landfills that continue in operation to the point at which a PPC application must be made. It provides guidance on the technical requirements that these landfills will be required to meet under the PPC permit, and is regarded by the Agency as essential reading for would-be applicants for landfill permits.
DEFRA supports the Agency in this Site Conditioning Plan initiative and urges landfill operators to make the most of the time available before July to prepare conditioning plans.