Adopted in 1999, the EU Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC was transposed into English law as the Landfill (England & Wales) Regulations 2002. It requires a reduction in biodegradable waste sent to landfill. Of the 1995 level, it sets 75% landfilling by 2010, 50% by 2013 and 35% by 2020. These relate to Biodegradable MUNICIPAL waste, the scope of which currently includes all waste collected by or on behalf of a Local Authority.
It also bans various materials from landfilling, including liquid waste, explosive and flammable waste. Hospital and clinical waste and tyres, whether whole or shredded. It also introduced new categories of inert, non hazardous and hazardous landfill sites.
The implementation of the Landfill Directive's requirements for diversion of BMW required primary legislation and have been implemented through the Waste and Emissions Trading (WET) Act 2003 via:
• The setting of a maximum amount of BMW to landfill from each country in the UK
• The allocation on landfill allowances, which may be tradable, to waste disposal authorities
• The preparation, in each country of the UK, of a strategy for reducing the amount of biodegradable waste going to landfills
• Details of the landfill allowances scheme being established in subordinate legislation by the appropriate authority in each country of the UK
This Act introduced the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) that sets out restrictions for disposal by each local authority in England and Wales. The Act permits each waste disposal authority (WDA) to sell its yearly quota of landfill allowances to other WDAs, creates financial incentives for good performance and encourages WDAs to maximise alternatives to landfill. The permits are to be traded, the penalty for breaching the target without purchasing LATS from other authorities was set at £150 per tonne, and the Secretary of State sets each WDAs landfill
disposal allowance annually, to reflect nationally the downward trend of the EU Landfill Directive, which deals with bio-degradable municipal waste. The targets are 50% of 1995 levels by 2009, and 35% by 2016.
The LATS has recently been the subject of discussion during a DEFRA consultation on EU Waste Targets. It may be subject to revision during the forthcoming years.
WASTE MANAGEMENT REGULATIONS 2006
The Waste Management (England and Wales) Regulations 2006 are better known as the Agricultural Waste Regulations as they apply to the disposal of agricultural waste.
Agricultural waste was excluded from the UK’s waste management controls by section 75(7)(c) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The European Court of Justice has concluded that this exclusion contravenes European legislation - the Waste Framework Directive and the Landfill Directive. The UK Government accepts that the exclusion contravenes the Directives and has given a commitment to the European Commission to apply the controls necessary under the Directives to agricultural waste.
From 2006 these regulations covered spent pesticide containers, agricultural plastics such as silage wrap, bags and sheets, packaging waste, tyres, batteries, clinical waste, machinery and oil. This waste needs to be taken off-farm for disposal at licensed sites and can only be dealt with on-farm, either for recycling or for disposal with an exemption or licence from the Environment Agency.