PCBs to be phased out by the end of the year

Equipment containing PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) must be registered and disposed of by the end of the year under new Government regulations.

The proposed regulations are intended to ensure that all PCBs are phased out and disposed of, to reduce future releases of PCBs and to lower their overall levels in the environment.

The regulations apply to England and Wales and deal with PCBs in equipment such as transformers and capacitors. Contaminated equipment must be registered and disposed of by 31 December 2000.

The UK Environment Agency will enforce the regulations, and oversee the registration, charging and monitoring of equipment containing PCBs.

The use of PCBs in the UK has been progressively restricted since the 1970s. Their supply and use in new plant and equipment was banned in 1986. Equipment containing amounts of PCBs below EU limits is exempted, until it reaches the end of it’s useful life.

The regulations enact the EC’s PCB Directive which covers the registration, decontamination and disposal of the chemicals. Similar regulations are being introduced for Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The EC Directive sets a target date of 2010 for the phasing out and disposal of identifiable PCBs, subject to certain specified derogations.

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