Clearing up environmental waste matter

A leading Kent waste recycling company has won the right to mount a High Court challenge over implementation of EU laws aimed at protecting the environment.

The case is to be heard as a matter of urgency and is expected to reach court before the start of the summer vacation.

At the centre of the action is Bexleyheath-based company Dockgrange, which claims restrictions in respect of importation of waste material from Germany and Holland, imposed upon it by The Environmental Agency are too severe.

EU rules relating to regulation of importation and handling of waste material for recycling are rated in three categories of rising environmental risk: green, amber and red. Dockgrange had been importing under the green rules, while its activities were policed by the now defunct Kent Waste Regulatory Authority.

In April 1996, however, the duties of Kent Waste Regulatory Authority passed to The Environmental Agency, which ruled that from 1 October last year Dockgrange's activities should be classified under EC regulation 259/93 as coming under the red regulations.

Since then, Dockgrange's importation of waste material from abroad have ceased. And the company argues that The Environmental Agency's interpretation of the EC regulations is wrong and absurd.

The green light has been given by Mr Justice Dyson for Dockgrange to take its attack on the Environmental Agency's stance to the High Court. The company has been given leave to seek judicial review of the Agency's interpretation of the regulations.

Further, due to the possible impact on Dockgrange and the waste disposal industry the judge has also ruled that the case should be heard urgently.