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Saturday, 21 March, 1998, 23:39 GMT
Scots fight toxic dumping
Locals are angry the toxic waste came from England, where the dumping would be illegal
Protesters in Scotland have demanded the closure of a legal loophole, which they say permits the dumping of waste considered too toxic for sites in England.

Around 150 people blockaded a landfill site in North Lanarkshire. They called on the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) to act to stop England dumping its waste north of the border.

Local anger at the growing number of landfill dumps in the area grew when it was revealed waste company Shanks & McEwan had tipped around 160 tonnes of waste containing potentially harmful PCBs in September and November last year.

Around 150 people took part in the protest
The toxic waste came from England but under laws there it was considered too potentially dangerous to be disposed of in an open site.

People in North Lanarkshire only discovered the dumping had taken place after an investigation by the environmental group Friends of the Earth.

The protesters demanded the waste be returned to England and said Sepa, which regulates waste disposal in Scotland, should act to end the legal discrepancy.

The North Lanarkshire Council Depute Leader, James McCabe, told a meeting in the village of Greengairs he believed Shanks & McEwan had breached its contract.

"It is my own personal opinion that the planning conditions have been breached. Article seven of 38 conditions categorically denies them the right to deposit toxic waste on that site," he said.

Shanks & McEwan refused to attend a council meeting
"I want to know why they dumped that waste in there."

Shanks & McEwan refused an invitation to attend the meeting, which erupted into angry scenes as local people expressed their outrage.

Lang Banks, of Friends of the Earth, told the villagers the PCBs contained in the waste could in time contaminate the local water supply.

"PCBs are extremely harmful. They can cause chemical and hormone imbalances in humans. Sepa should admit right now that it has failed in its duty to protect people in Scotland."

But Sepa's Divisional Manager, Calum MacDonald, said Shanks & McEwan had not breached existing guidelines.

London's Dome waste dumped in countryside

People in rural parts of England have also reacted furiously to reports that waste from the Millennium Dome being built in east London has been dumped near three villages.

The Times newspaper said 200,000 tonnes of what it described as "potentially lethal waste" had been buried at the sites in a "rush job" to get the Dome finished in time for the year 2000 celebrations.

The newspaper said the waste, including arsenic, cyanides and asbestos, had been buried in Calvert, Buckinghamshire, Stewartby, Bedfordshire, and Weldon, Northamptonshire.

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