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Monday, 20 March, 2000, 01:07 GMT
Polluters face tough new laws
Smoke over town
Polluters will be ordered to clean up contaminated land
Town halls nationwide are being challenged to seek out and clean up chemically-polluted sites in their areas.

The move announced by Environment Minister Michael Meacher aims to protect the public and the environment from the risks of blight that polluted land can cause.

He is urging local authorities and business to do their bit, to make the drive a success.

Mr Meacher said: "I am challenging local authorities and business to make the new regime a success - together we can protect local communities and the environment from the risks and the blight that contaminated land can cause, and ensure a better quality of life for all.

"I will be writing to the chairmen of our major companies, setting out this challenge and asking them to inform me when they have a strategy in place."

toxic warning sign
50m is being put towards the scheme
Councils will have a duty to inspect their areas to find "contaminated land" and then deal with it.

Together with the Environment Agency, the authorities will be able to force polluters to pay for cleaning up sites.

Companies will have a better idea of what they need to do to make their own sites safe.

Over three years 50m of extra funding is being given through the Comprehensive Spending Review, in addition to the already planned 45m capital programme for site investigation and clearing.

The government wants industry to accept responsibility and many firms already have positive programmes in place to identify and clean up the sites which they have polluted in the past.

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19 Mar 00 | UK Politics
Kennedy seeks green revival
23 Sep 99 | Sci/Tech
Pollution hits poor hardest
28 Jul 99 | Sci/Tech
World's carbon pollution falls
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