Survey of Wastes Spread on Land


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In the context of the European Community Waste Management Policy (Commission of the EC 1996), the Directorate-General Environment has commissioned WRc, in collaboration with SEDE France and REI Italy, to undertake a survey on industrial wastes spread on land which covers the fifteen Member States of the European Union. This is the final report for the study which began in January 2000. There are currently no specific regulatory controls at the Community level on wastes applied to land with the exception of sewage sludge. However, in Annex IIB of the Waste Framework Directive 75/442/EEC as amended by Directive 91/156/EEC (CEC 1991), landspreading operations of wastes other than animal carcasses and animal manures are considered as recovery operations as long as they are carried in accordance with Article 4, i.e. without endangering human health and the environment. The Directive specifies that companies undertaking such recovery operations can be exempted from a permit requirement if the competent authorities have adopted specific rules for these exemptions. A wide range of wastes and by-products of industrial processes are being spread on the land in agriculture, forestry and land reclamation operations. Some materials generated from industrial processes are considered, by the producers at least, to be by-products rather than wastes so that they can be recycled to land as soil improvers and fertilisers with minimum restriction. Various control regimes apply to the practice of landspreading but most share the underlying assumption that it is for the benefit of the soil and it is a low cost disposal option. It is expected that landspreading will increase following the implementation of Community and National regulations which restrict disposal of organic-rich materials in landfills and which require treatment of organic-rich industrial effluent from different branches of the food and drink and other sectors.

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