Waste reduction plans face backlash

12th April 2006, Comments 0 comments

12 April 2006, BELGIUM – Wallonian government plans to drastically reduce pollution by 2010 have been met with sharp criticism amid concerns over how the ambitious scheme will be financed.Democratic and Humanist Center CDH Environment Minister Benoît Lutgen not only plans to drastically reduce industrial pollution, but implement three new stages of biomethanisation and invest up to EUR 413 million in the waste sector.

12 April 2006

BELGIUM – Wallonian government plans to drastically reduce pollution by 2010 have been met with sharp criticism amid concerns over how the ambitious scheme will be financed.

Democratic and Humanist Center CDH Environment Minister Benoît Lutgen not only plans to drastically reduce industrial pollution, but implement three new stages of biomethanisation and invest up to EUR 413 million in the waste sector.

The proposals have already been adopted by the Wallonian regional government.

However, dispute has arisen over how the proposals would be financed and a proposed contractual tax that would pay for the removal of a quota of dustbin bags.

At this stage, the proposals are more a statement of principle than a direct plan of action, which leaves Lutgen two months to present a series of preliminary drafts, of which one will be a tax decree and - by the end of the year - a waste-prevention programme and declaration of actual costs.

However, it is not certain that the minister will even be able to finalise his drafts without substantial modifications.

Wallonia Inter-Environment lobby group said that the plans were going "in the right direction", but Ecolo's Bernard Westphael criticised the subsidies that would be required for incineration and biomethanisation and that the brunt of charges would be borne by the citizen.

"There is no reason why citizens should pay the entire cost of waste-management, any more than they should do for roads or the police force," Westphael said.

Reform Movement MR deputy leader Willy Borsus demanded a reassessment of investment, the fixing of "reasonable" charge levels for citizens, a return to honest public/private investment partnerships and moves towards prevention of waste, rather than mere disposal.

[Copyright Expatica 2006]
 
Subject: Belgian news

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