Waste imports have doubled: Hazardous material 'arriving illegally'
The increase comes despite repeated statements by ministers that wealthy European nations should deal with wastes within their own borders rather than shipping them to Britain. Tim Yeo, Environment minister, reaffirmed that policy yesterday.
The wastes include long-lasting, toxic chemicals such as PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls), and incinerator ash containing high levels of poisonous metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium. Some is recycled to recover valuable materials, but each year thousands of tons end up being burned in incinerators or buried, after treatment.
Kerry Rankine, a Greenpeace waste campaigner, said: 'We've yet to see the British government take decisive action to stop the UK becoming a dumping ground for Europe. They're not serious.'
According to the annual report of the Government's pollution inspectorate, imports to England and Wales in the financial year 1988-89 were about 21,000 tons. By 1990-91 they had risen to more than 44,306 tons and thay have remained above that level.
These figures are not the full story. The pollution inspectorate and waste regulation officers from local councils believe some hazardous wastes are disposed of without being picked up by the legal monitoring system which is intended to ensure that they are disposed of safely.
Belgium was the largest exporter last year, followed by Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Greater Manchester was the region that received most hazardous waste - 15,689 tons.
George Clapton of the Greater Machester Waste Disposal Authority said his staff kept a close check on wastes received by the three plants operating in the area. He said it was likely some dangerous wastes were arriving in Britain illegally, 'but it's not happening here'. He expected the imports to start falling within the next two years.
Britain also exports large quantities of hazardous wastes, but insists these go to overseas recyclers who extract useful materials from them.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...
£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...
£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...