Select Committee on Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Letter from Rt Hon Michael Meacher, MP, Minister for the Environment, Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions, to Mr Chris Davies, MEP, 26 January 2000

  Thank you for your letter of 15 December about the recovery of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) from refrigerators.

  At the European Union level, the recovery of CFCs is controlled by EC Regulation 3093/94, which requires used CFCs and other controlled ozone depleting substances to be recovered, if practicable, for recycling or destruction. You will be pleased to know that under the proposed new EC Regulation on ozone depleting substances, which is expected to be in place later this year, this requirement has been strengthened. The new EC Regulation will make the recovery of used controlled substances from refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment mandatory. This requirement does not apply to domestic refrigerators and freezers until after 31 December 2001.

  Within the UK, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 provide a robust legislative system to regulate waste management. Anyone who deposits, recovers or disposes of controlled waste, which includes waste CFCs, must do so in compliance with the conditions of a waste management licence (or within the terms of an exemption from licensing) and in a way which does not cause harm to the environment or human health. Moreover, persons dealing with controlled waste are also under a duty of care to ensure that waste is managed properly, recovered or disposed of safely and is only transferred to someone who is authorised to receive it.

  Department of Environment Circular 11/94 provides guidance on controls over ozone depleting substances that fall within the waste management licensing regime.

  I am afraid I cannot comment on the concerns of your constituent without knowing more details. I have, however, asked my officials to raise this as a general issue with the Environment Agency when they discuss the implementation of the new EC Regulation.

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