61Duty of waste regulation authorities as respects closed landfills
(1)Except as respects land in relation to which a site licence is in force, it shall be the duty of every waste regulation authority to cause its area to be inspected from time to time to detect whether any land is in such a condition, by reason of the relevant matters affecting the land, that it may cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.
(2)The matters affecting land relevant for the purposes of this section are the concentration or accumulation in, and emission or discharge from, the land of noxious gases or noxious liquids caused by deposits of controlled waste in the land.
(3)For the purpose of discharging the duty imposed by subsection (1) above on a waste regulation authority, the authority may enter and inspect any land—
(a)in or on which controlled waste has been deposited at any time under the authority of a waste management licence or a disposal licence under section 5 of the [1974 c. 40.] Control of Pollution Act 1974; or
(b)as respects which the authority has reason to believe that controlled waste has been deposited in the land at any time (whether before or after 1st January 1976); or
(c)in which there are, or the authority has reason to believe there may be, concentrations or accumulations of noxious gases or noxious liquids.
In this subsection “controlled waste” means household, industrial or commercial waste as defined in section 75(5), (6) and (7) below (subject, if the regulations so provide, to regulations under section 63(1) or 75(8) below).
(4)Where it appears to a waste regulation authority that the condition of any land in its area is such as is specified in subsection (1) above it shall be the duty of the authority, from time to time during the period of its responsibility for the land, to enter and inspect the land for the purpose of keeping its condition under review.
(5)Where, at any time during the period of its responsibility for any land, it appears to a waste regulation authority that the condition of the land is, by reason of the relevant matters affecting the land, such that pollution of water is likely to be caused, it shall be the duty of the authority to consult the National Rivers Authority or, in Scotland, the river purification authority whose area includes the land in question as to the discharge by the authority of the duty imposed on it in relation to the land by subsection (7) below.
(6)The “period of responsibility” for any land for the purposes of subsections (4) and (5) above extends from the time at which the condition of the land first appears to the authority to be such as is referred to in that subsection until the authority is satisfied that no pollution of the environment or harm to human health will be caused by reason of the relevant matters affecting the land.
(7)Where, on an inspection by a waste regulation authority of any land under this section, it appears to the authority that the condition of the land is, by reason of the relevant matters affecting the land, such that pollution of the environment or harm to human health is likely to be caused it shall be the duty of the authority to do such works and take such other steps (whether on the land affected or on adjacent land) as appear to the authority to be reasonable to avoid such pollution or harm.
(8)Where an authority exercises in relation to waste on any land the duty imposed by subsection (7) above, the authority shall, except in a case falling within subsection (9) below, be entitled to recover the cost or part of the cost incurred in doing so from the person who is for the time being the owner of the land, except such of the cost as that person shows was incurred unreasonably.
(9)Subsection (8) above does not apply in a case where the authority accepted the surrender under section 39 above of the waste management licence which authorised the activities in the course of which the waste was deposited.
(10)In deciding whether to recover the cost and, if so, how much to recover of the cost which it is entitled to recover under subsection (8) above, the authority shall have regard to any hardship which the recovery may cause to the owner of the land.
(11)It shall be the duty of waste regulation authorities to have regard to any guidance issued to them by the Secretary of State as respects the discharge of their functions under this section.