Independent report on the accident at the Zaldibar landfill site

Independent report on the accident at the Zaldibar landfill site

On 13 May 2020, the Commission forwarded a written answer to questions E-000949/2020, E‑001011/2020, E-001025/2020, E-001026/2020, E-001027/2020, E-001031/2020 and E-001033/2020 concerning the accident on 06 February 2020 at the industrial landfill site in Zaldibar in the Basque Country. In its answer, the Commission stated that the information provided in the written questions, which was taken from inspections carried out by the Basque Country’s Regional Government, ‘suggests important shortcomings that should have been detected, followed through and ultimately sanctioned appropriately by the competent authorities.’ To date, millions of tonnes of waste have been examined, the body of one of the victims has been recovered, the site has been stabilised once again and two reports on the site’s management and its inspections and controls have been produced. The British consultancy firm Ricargo Energy & Environment concludes in one of these reports that the operating licences and periodic activity inspections comply with EU legislation and describes the inspections as ‘well-structured and thorough’.

On 08 September 2020, Spanish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Izaskun Bilbao Barandica of the Renew Europe Group, filed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission. MEP Bilbao Barandica enquired from the Commission “when will it conclude its report on this accident?”

The Spanish MEP also asked the Commission “what has been the stance taken by the competent authorities during the Commission’s investigations?” and “given the information provided in this question, do the Commission’s initial impressions remain the same?”

On 25 November, Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius, responded on behalf of the European Commission.

Commissioner Sinkevicius stated that “the Spanish competent authorities have duly cooperated in the Commission’s preliminary enquiry” and “by the end of 2020, the Commission will communicate the results of the enquiry to Spain”.

Photo Credit : https://www.archyde.com/thousands-of-people-ask-to-find-buried-workers-in-the-zaldibar-landfill/

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