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European Commission - Press release

Environment: Commission refers Slovenia to Court for failure to clean up highly flammable waste tyres

Brussels, 26 March 2015

The European Commission is taking Slovenia to Court for its failure to comply with the requirements of EU waste legislation. The case concerns an illegal landfill in Lovrenc na Dravskem polju, where more than 40 000 tons of highly flammable waste tyres have been stored since 2006. Large fires broke out at this location in 2007 and 2008.

Landfills operating in breach of EU waste legislation can pose a threat to human health and the environment. In addition to the fire risk, the site is particularly ill-suited for landfill, due to the close vicinity of a high-voltage electricity power line, and the fact that the area contains one of the biggest sources of fresh water in the country. Slovenia had agreed to address the problem and clean up the waste tyres, but the very slow rate of progress has led the Commission to call Slovenia before the Court of Justice.

The Commission opened infringement proceedings on the matter in October 2012, with a reasoned opinion following in March 2013. Slovenia subsequently presented a timetable for clean-up and rehabilitation of the site, but has failed to respect it. Given the length of the breach and its continued serious risks for human health and environment, the Commission is referring the case to the Court of Justice.

 

Background

The Waste Framework Directive sets the legal basis for waste treatment in the EU. It introduces waste management principles such as the "polluter pays principle" and lays down a binding hierarchy for managing waste. It obliges Member States to take measures to ensure that waste management is carried out without endangering human health and without harming the environment. Waste is to be treated without creating a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals, without causing a nuisance through noise or odours, and without adversely affecting the countryside or places of special interest.

The Landfill Directive lays down safe operating conditions for landfills. The legislation aims to protect human health and the environment from the negative effects caused by the collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of waste.

 

For more information

On the March infringement package decisions, see MEMO/15/4666

On the general infringement procedure, see MEMO/12/12

For more information on infringement procedures:         
http://ec.europa.eu/eu_law/infringements/infringements_en.htm

IP/15/4671

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