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Firms to pay for Agency pollution check

FIRMS POSING a pollution risk are to be charged by Government watchdog the Environment Agency for the cost of their regulation and control.

The Agency is preparing to launch an interim regime for England and Wales on 1 November that will force companies to pay administration costs for setting up and monitoring safeguards against contamination.

A consultation document inviting comment on the proposed scheme suggests firms will be charged on an individual basis according to their activity, the type of anti-pollution defences used, their ability to be self-regulating, and the potential contamination risk posed.

In addition to monitoring of landfill and discharge into water courses, the Agency will measure energy conservation and emissions, prevention of accidents with environmental impact, returning sites to a 'satisfactory state' after operations cease, and noise pollution.

The initial scale of charges, yet to be fixed, will be reviewed next March and again 12 months later. An Agency spokesman said the reviews would allow adjustments to be made, making the regime as equitable as possible before introduction of a permanent scale of charges in April 2001.

Proposed interim charging scheme for pollution prevention & control is available from the Environment Agency on (01454) 624400. Responses by 15 October.

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