Spanish urban waste disposal plan approved

Environment ministry, regional authorities, agree euros 3.3bn plan to increase prevention, recycling

Spain's environment ministry and regional and municipal administrations responsible for waste management yesterday reached agreement on a seven-year national urban waste plan designed to reduce waste generation, improve recycling rates and regulate landfill sites. Through a system of incentives and penalties, the plan aims to achieve a 10% cut in packaging waste and a 6% reduction in the waste produced per inhabitant from 1996 levels by June 2001. It will also bring Spain into line with EU framework directive on waste (75/442) by requiring the closure by 2005 of 3,700 unlicensed landfill sites currently operated by municipal authorities and their replacement with facilities which meet national and EU standards. Other targets include the recovery of 50% of organic urban waste through composting and the introduction of obligatory selective waste collection in large urban areas by the end of 2000 and in smaller communities by the end of 2005. The agreement, which is expected to receive ministerial approval and become law by January 1, 2000, is based on draft proposals issued earlier this year (ENDS Daily 4 June). The projected cost, made public for the first time yesterday, will be euros 3.3bn (SPtas550bn) over the next seven years. Between 70% and 80% of this total will come from EU cohesion and regional development funds, according to the Environment Ministry, which has undertaken to publish guidelines to help regional administrations present projects which meet funding criteria. The remaining investment and maintenance costs will be met by consumers with domestic and commercial refuse disposal bills going up by an estimated average of 10%.

Follow Up:
Spanish environment ministry, tel: +34 91 597 6030.

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