MAIL FOAMS AT THE MOUTH OVER EU POLLUTION SOLUTION
The chilling fields – 120,000 dumped fridges rotting in a field and polluting the atmosphere – all thanks to the EU’s ‘green’ madness
From a distance it looks like some post-apocalypse battlefield, a great mountain of metal slowly turning into rust. It spreads relentlessly over the landscape until it pushes up against the trees – and then the only way to go is up. These are some of the hundreds of thousands of refrigerators and freezers being dumped and stored all over the country. They are the chilling fields of Britain, created by a disastrous piece of EU legislation designed, ironically, to reduce pollution. The appliances can no longer be buried in landfill sites until ozone-destroying gases in their insulation material have been removed…The Government appears to have pushed through arrangements to meet the new rules without seeing the difficulties. Then it did little or nothing to prepare for the avalanche of old fridges when the law came in.
(Daily Mail, 24 November 2004, page 13)
The only “disastrous” thing here is the Mail’s reporting. The ozone layer performs the essential task of filtering out most of the sun’s biologically harmful ultraviolet (UV-B) radiation, and it would be “green madness” for countries not to work together to protect it. As such, member states have undertaken to better control and eventually phase out damaging chemicals such as the ozone-depleting gases in fridges. An isolated, though highly visual, case of poor implementation does not undermine the whole policy.
The UK and other EU countries signed up to these measures in June 2000. They clearly state that these gases must be removed from old fridges from January 2002, and it was quickly confirmed that this included those contained within the insulating foam. The fact that the UK may not have sufficient facilities in place to undertake its obligations in late 2004 cannot be blamed on the original agreement.