Sweden to take back "illegal" waste shipment

Anglo-Welsh environment agency demands return of toxic materials imported without permission

The Swedish and Anglo-Welsh environment agencies have confirmed reports in Swedish newspapers that a shipment of toxic waste sent from Sweden to England was exported without permission and have demanded its return by 1 June. The consignment breached rules in the EU's 1993 waste shipments regulation, which require permission to be granted before a transfrontier shipment can proceed, according to the agencies.

According to details that have emerged in Sweden, the shipment consisted of 30 tonnes of toxic materials generated during construction of the Öresund bridge connecting Sweden and Denmark, which is due to open later this year. Stirling Lloyd, a company based in Cheshire, England, arranged for the waste to be imported to the UK last December. The Swedish EPA today wrote to the firm asking it to return the waste for treatment by Malmö-based firm Sysav Kemi.

The Anglo-Welsh environment agency today confirmed that it was investigating a shipment of waste from Sweden, had alerted the Swedish authorities to its presence in the UK, and might take further action against the company responsible. It declined to give further details for legal reasons.

An agency spokesperson said that cases of this kind were relatively rare. The agency had objected to eight waste imports in the last four years, he said, and had required three shipments to be returned to their country of origin. A further five cases were currently under investigation, he added. A spokesperson for the Swedish EPA echoed these comments, saying the EPA received about 200 requests per year for permission to ship wastes and "very few" of these called for any action.

Follow Up:
Swedish EPA, tel: +46 8 698 1000; Anglo-Welsh environment agency, tel: +44 1454 624 400.

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