THE FARMERS Union of Wales is warning that a new EU directive will lead to an epidemic of dangerous waste dumping on farmland.

When the new rule is implemented next month companies will no longer be able to dispose of hazardous waste on domestic rubbish sites.

Hazardous waste includes builders rubble, contaminated soil, paint, spent oils and highly acidic or alkaline solids.

“So far the government has managed to encourage the owners of just 18 sites to apply to handle the estimated 2.5m tonnes of neat toxic waste, and only five permits have been granted,” said Rhian Nowell-Phillips, the FUW‘s senior policy officer.

Not one Welsh site would be approved by the July 16 deadline, and farmers would suffer the consequences, she said.

They risked injury by coming into contact with dangerous waste fly-tipped onto their land, and would even have to pay the high cost of disposing of it.

There was also a high risk of groundwater contamination, warned Ms Nowell-Phillips.

She added that the Environment Agency believed that there was already a flourishing illegal dumping industry.

The government had known about the directive for five years, and it had already been implemented in most EU countries, she said.

But as a result of political dithering there was a real danger that field entrances throughout Wales would soon be littered with hazardous waste.