Property, Administrative, Evidence

The mayor of the Municipality of Le Palais-sur-Vienne gave the company G. and others a notice to take all measures to dispose of the waste located on their property. The company G. and others brought an action against this order. Their action was dismissed by the Administrative Tribunal of Limoges. The Administrative Court of Appeal of Bordeaux also rejected the applicant’s request. Then, they presented an appeal before the Conseil d’Etat.

The appeal was dismissed. The Conseil d’Etat ruled that the persons responsible for waste are the producers or other holders of the waste alone. In addition, in the absence of any producer or any other known holder, the owner of the land on which the waste has been deposited may be considered to be their holder within the meaning of Article L. 541-2 of the Environment Code, in particular if it has been negligent with respect to abandonments of waste on its land, and accordingly be liable to the obligation to dispose of this waste.

In the present case, the judges considered that the mayor of the municipality of Le Palais-sur-Vienne had been able to regard the applicants as the holders of the waste present on their land and charging them for the work required for its disposal.

In fact, the company Eureca, which was the holder of the waste, no longer existed and the applicants, owners of the land on which the waste was present, had shown negligent behaviour in respect to it.

Indeed, the disputed waste resulted for the most part from the earlier operation of the rubber regenerating activity by the company G. In addition, the applicants had refrained from any monitoring and any upkeep of the land, in particular, for the purpose of limiting the risks of pollution of the Vienne river and the risk of fire, or conducted any work to facilitate access to the site by the emergency and fire-fighting services and they had not taken any initiative to ensure the security of the site or to facilitate the organisation of the disposal of the waste.