WALES FACES a hazardous waste crisis in July when new legislation comes into force leaving it without any public disposal facilities, environmental experts have warned.
A ban on the co-disposal of hazardous and non-hazardous waste will see a 10-fold drop in the number of hazardous landfill sites across England and Wales.
The ban is in accordance with the 1999 European Union Landfill Directive hazardous waste section, which comes into force on 16 July.
Environmental experts fear that the ban will see waste transported long distances for disposal or fly-tipped illegally (NCE 2 October 2003).
'There is a serious shortfall in landfill capacity in Wales and hazardous waste will have few places to go, ' said Environment Agency Wales waste strategy and policy manager Martin Terry, speaking at an ICE Wales conference last week.
It is expected that most current co-disposal sites will be re-licensed as non-hazardous because rules for managing hazardous waste sites are poorly understood.
'We simply can't tell how stringently the new regulations are going to be applied, ' said Gareth Jones, development manager for landfill site operator CWM Environmental.
One environmental consultant said that of six landfill operators, only one so far had been successful in renewing its licence under the new directive.
An increase in the amount of hazardous waste to be handled compounds the problem. Televisions, car tyres and abandoned vehicles are all now termed as hazardous.