Slovenia faces legal action over landfill failures

The European Commission is referring Slovenia to the Court of Justice over waste failures after the country failed to close and rehabilitate 28 illegal landfills.

Despite earlier warnings from the Commission, Slovenia is said to have failed to take measures against noncompliant landfills, as required by EU rules on landfilling (Landfill Directive, Council Directive 1999/31/EC). Under the Directive, member states must recover and dispose of waste in a manner that does not endanger human health and the environment, prohibiting the abandonment, dumping or uncontrolled disposal of waste.

Slovenia was obliged to close and rehabilitate the municipal and industrial landfills by 16 July 2009. In April 2016, as a result of insufficient progress, the authorities were urged to adequately deal with 35 uncontrolled sites which, although not in operation, posed a threat to human health and the environment.

Whilst some progress was made, necessary measures to clean and close 28 landfills had still not been completed by March 2017 and the Commission is now bringing the Slovenian authorities before the Court of Justice of the EU In an effort to urge the country to speed up the process.

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

Similar measures have been taken against 6 other member states: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, Romania and Slovakia. The Court has already issued judgements condemning Bulgaria, Cyprus and Spain.

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