Landfills—key waste issues
Produced in partnership with Argyll Environmental UK and Dr Louise Smail at Fisher Scoggins Waters LLP

The following Environment practice note produced in partnership with Argyll Environmental UK and Dr Louise Smail at Fisher Scoggins Waters LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Landfills—key waste issues
  • Introduction
  • Types of waste
  • Environmental risks
  • Case studies and legislation
  • Issues with landfill sites
  • Status of EU directives following Brexit
  • Key legislation
  • Technical guidance relating to landfill management
  • Transactional issues
  • More...

Landfills—key waste issues

Introduction

The UK generated 221 million tonnes of total waste in 2016 with England responsible for 85% of this total. UK biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) sent to landfill fell from approximately 7.4 million tonnes in 2017 (21% of the baseline 1995 value) to around 7.2 million tonnes in 2018 (20% of the baseline 1995 value).

Types of waste

In England and Wales, apart from public health legislation, there was no regulation of landfilling activities until the Control of Pollution Act 1974 (CPA 1974). Consequently, any historical landfill could have accepted a wide range of potentially hazardous material including asbestos, waste chemicals, waste effluent and/or sludge.

Broadly speaking waste can be classified into five separate categories as follows:

  1. inert waste—such as building rubble, quarry waste and soil which is unlikely to present a significant environmental risk but may still generate potentially harmful gas—treatment is not technically feasible

  2. commercial waste—is a type of controlled waste generated from premises mainly used for trade or business purposes, excluding household, industrial and mine or quarry waste

  3. household waste—is a type of controlled waste generated from residential properties, caravan sites, nursing homes, hospitals and educational establishments

  4. industrial waste—is a type of controlled waste generated from factories, public transport services activities, premises associated with the provision of public postal or telecommunications services and premises associated with public supply of gas, electricity, water and

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