Commission proposes EU landfill waste criteria

Controversial plan for case-by-case relaxation of leachability standards to be decided by ministers

The European Commission today proposed a crucial set of criteria detailing how waste should be dumped in different types of landfill under the 1999 EU landfill directive. The criteria are crucial for proper implementation of the directive. But their adoption has been held up by disagreement over a controversial derogation allowing laxer limits on pollutants in waste if an assessment shows the landfill can absorb them safely.

The waste acceptance criteria have been under negotiation for three years but must now go for a final stamp of approval by ministers, given that a committee of experts from member states was unable to agree on whether to include the derogation option. Advocated among others by Austria, this option is opposed by the UK, which abstained when the committee voted on the package in July. The Commission's proposal retains the derogation.

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