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Judgment in 3C Waste Limited on Landfill Directive

DATE: 25 Oct 2006

In an important judgment delivered on 25th October in the Commercial Court, David Steel J has granted 3C Waste Limited (a landfill site operator) a declaration about the combined impact of Article 10 of the Landfill Directive (1991/31/EC); regulation 11 of the Landfill (England and Wales Regulations 2002 SI 2002/1559 and conditions contained in landfill permits on contracts that were already in existence when the legislation came into force. The declaration will have considerable practical impacts on landfill operations. The case is 3C Waste Limited v Mersey Waste Holdings Limited and Merseyside Waste Disposal Limited. The judge held that Article 10 of the Directive was intended to affect existing contracts, with the result that the obligation to charge the "full cost" attributable to the deposit of waste applied after the date the legislation bit even if the contract price was lower. On the facts of 3C the result was that, if it is subsequently established that "full cost" is as a matter of fact higher than the contract price, the contract was suspended under a force majeure clause from the date of the imposition of a permit condition requiring compliance with regulation 11. The defendants were refused permission to appeal.

Richard Drabble QC appeared for the claimant, 3C.