Slovakia Faces Fines Over Landfill Failure

european-parliamentThe European Commission is taking Slovakia back to the Court of Justice of the EU and is proposing a fine for its failure to comply with the Court’s judgement of April 2013 to ensure that decisions on the operation of the landfill in Žilina–Považský Chlmec are taken in line with EU rules, thereby avoiding serious risks for human health and the environment.

The Court of Justice of the EU ruled on 25 April 2013 that Slovakia was violating EU law by authorising the operation of the existing landfill Žilina–Považský Chlmec without a site conditioning plan and by not having taken a final decision on the operation of the landfill on the basis of an approved site conditioning plan.

Three years later, Slovakia has still not taken a definite decision regarding the status of the landfill.

The Commission is asking the Court of Justice of the EU to impose the minimum lump sum of €939,000, and a daily fine of €6,793.80, which would be paid from the date of the Court’s ruling until the Slovak authorities fully comply with EU law.

These penalties, proposed by the Commission under the Lisbon Treaty, take into account the duration of the infringement, its gravity, and the size of the Member State. The final decision on the penalties rests with the Court.

Under the Landfill Directive member states had to close non-compliant existing landfills by 16 July 2009 unless they provided the appropriate ‘site conditioning plans’ – with planned measures to meet the requirements of the Directive – which would allow them to continue to accept waste for disposal.

Although the Žilina landfill is no longer taking waste, there has been no real progress in the procedure for its closure in line with the Landfill Directive, the Commission says. It has, therefore, decided to take Slovakia back to the Court of Justice of the EU and to propose fines.

Under EU law, only safe and controlled landfill activities should be carried out in Europe. The Landfill Directive lays down standards to protect human health and the environment from the negative effects caused by the collection, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of waste.

It aims to prevent or reduce as far as possible negative effects, in particular on surface water, groundwater, soil, air, and human health, of the landfilling of waste by introducing stringent technical requirements for waste and landfills.

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