The Commission submitted a Proposal for a Directive on the Landfill of Waste to the Council on 22 July 1991. In 1995 a Common Position was reached by the Council. The European Parliament however, did not find the level of environmental protection in the Common Position sufficient and therefore, on 22 May 1996, rejected it. The Commission subsequently withdrew its Proposal. In June 1996 the Council invited the Commission to present a new Proposal on the Landfill of Waste as soon as possible.
The objectives of the new Proposal are to prevent and reduce the adverse effects of existing and new landfills on the environment, in particular the pollution of surface water, ground water, soil and air, as well as the resulting risks to human health. The Proposal also seeks to harmonize the environmental and technical standards for the landfill of waste.
To achieve these objectives, procedures are provided for controlling the opening, management, closure and monitoring of a site and the acceptability of the waste in the landfill.
In particular with the aim of reducing the 'global greenhouse effect', the Proposal includes provisions to reduce the landfilling of biodegradable municipal waste as well as provisions to ensure that the gases produced in new as well as existing landfills are collected, treated and used.
To reduce the volume or hazardousness nature of the waste, the Proposal requires all waste to be treated before landfilling. To ensure high environmental protection during handling and control of waste going to landfills, the Proposal identifies waste specific landfills. Hereby, the Proposal ensures that landfills for non-hazardous waste are used only for non-hazardous waste, landfills for hazardous waste are used only for hazardous waste and landfill for inert waste are used only for inert waste.
The Priority Waste Stream Working Group on used tyres in 1994 proposed a ban on the landfilling of tyres. This has been taken into account in the Proposal.
To ensure that all costs of the setting up, operation and closure of a landfill site are covered, the Proposal requires Member States to increase the cost of landfilling.