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IP/11/177

Brussels, 16 February 2011

Environment: Commission takes Slovakia to Court for failing to comply with EU landfill legislation

The European Commission is taking Slovakia to the European Court of Justice for failing to comply with EU rules to ensure that landfills do not significantly damage the environment. The case concerns a site near Žilina. On the recommendation of EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik, the Commission is therefore referring the case to the European Court of Justice.

The case against Slovakia concerns the landfill site in Považský Chlmec which is not in line with Directive 1999/31/EC on landfill waste.

Under the legislation, existing landfill sites had to be brought into line with the new law or closed down altogether by 16 July 2009.

The Slovakian landfill site has been in operation since 1992, and as such is considered to be an existing landfill under the Landfill Directive. This means specific documents had to be provided to enable the site to continue operating after 16 July 2009. The operator of the landfill should have prepared a conditioning plan and sent it to the competent authorities for approval. This plan should have included details concerning requirements of the Directive, such as water control, leachate management, protection of soil and water, gas control and hazards. The plan should also have included any corrective measures which the operator considered necessary to comply with the legal requirements. The aim of these requirements is to ensure the necessary protection for citizens and the environment.

Despite a Reasoned Opinion sent on 24 June 2010 (see IP/10/832) under ongoing infringement proceedings, the Slovak authorities have not provided the necessary information to confirm that this documentation has been prepared and approved. The Commission is therefore referring the case to the European Court of Justice.

Background

The Landfill Directive aims to prevent or reduce the adverse effects of landfill waste sites on the environment, in particular on surface water, groundwater, soil, air and human health, and sets strict guidelines for the management of sites. Sub-standard landfills are a hazard to public health and the environment. They have the potential to create air emissions and odours, pollute soil and water, and contaminate groundwater.

For current statistics on infringements in general, see:

http://ec.europa.eu/community_law/infringements/infringements_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/environment/legal/implementation_en.htm

See also MEMO/11/86


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