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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 September, 2004, 14:16 GMT 15:16 UK
Politician warns of toxic waste
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Sue Doughty MP fears toxic waste could be shipped into the region
Thousands of tons of potentially lethal waste could be transported to the South West, say the Liberal Democrats.

MP Sue Doughty said the UK is facing a hazardous waste crisis because of a capacity shortfall.

Government figures show the South West and east of England are the only two regions which have spare capacity for dealing with toxic and hazardous waste.

The UK faces a potential shortfall because of recent European rules to reduce landfill sites.

Specialist facilities

Ms Doughty, the Liberal Democrats' environment specialist, was speaking at the party conference in Bournemouth on Tuesday.

She said: "This could mean lorry loads of waste being transported across the country to those areas with spare capacity".

She blamed 'incompetence by Defra' (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), saying the government had failed to ensure specialist facilities were in place to meet new rules even though they had five years to prepare.

Last week Ms Doughty attacked the Conservative policy on the environment.

She said: "If Britain relies on the Toxic Tories to take environmental action, we could be buried under toxic waste or drowning in the rising seas before they even notice there's a problem."

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