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Waste Watch – February 2013

04/03/13

This Update contains brief details of Government and EU publications, legislation, cases and other developments in England and Wales relevant to those interested in municipal waste management, which have been published in the past month.

Items are set out by subject, with a link to where the full document can be found on the internet. All links are correct at the date of publication.

If you have been forwarded this update by a colleague and would like to receive it direct please email Claire Booth.

The following topics are covered in this update:

   Energy from Waste    Permitting and Licensing
   Enforcement    Pollution Prevention and Control
   Hazardous Waste    Waste Carriers
   Health and Safety    Waste PFI 
   Landfill    WEEE
   Municipal Waste

Energy from Waste

DEFRA: Energy from waste – A guide to the debate: this guide aims to increase understanding of the role that energy recovery can play in the sustainable management of residual waste and how it relates to other waste management options, including reuse, recycling and disposal. It aims to highlight the key environmental, technical and economic issues and options that should be considered, and also some of the main points where decisions can be influenced. Chapter 4 discusses developing an energy from waste facility, setting out the process that is followed when setting up an energy from waste facility, focusing primarily on where and why decisions are made and the regulatory framework.
Alongside this guide, DEFRA has published updated waste technology briefs which provide more details relating to specific energy from waste technologies: 

  • Advanced biological treatment of Municipal Solid Waste 
  • Advanced thermal treatment of Municipal Solid Waste 
  • Incineration of Municipal Solid Waste 
  • Mechanical biological treatment of Municipal Solid Waste 
  • Mechanical heat treatment of Municipal Solid Waste.

These are available on the DEFRA website. (26 February 2013)

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Enforcement

European Commission: Revision of the EU legal framework on environmental inspections: seeks views on the main concepts for the revision of the current EU framework on environmental inspections, to inform the design of a new horizontal binding instrument on environmental inspections which the EC intends to propose later in 2013. Environmental inspections enable authorities to collect information on activities that affect the state of the environment, identify gaps in implementation and detect breaches of legal obligations, and are a key instrument in terms of checking compliance, characterising non-compliance and establishing the factual basis for appropriate follow-up. The current framework is set out in Recommendation 2001/331 (RMCEI), which provides for minimum criteria for environmental inspections in the Member States, plus sectoral binding inspection provisions. The consultation closes on 26 May 2013. (22 February 2013)

Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013: this Act has received Royal Assent and comes into force on a day (or days) to be appointed. The Act repeals and replaces the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 with a more robust, fee-raising licence scheme administered by local authorities. Features include:

  • the power for local authorities to refuse and revoke a licence;
  • giving courts the power to close unlicensed dealers;
  • requiring dealers to verify sellers’ identity; and
  • creating a single publically available national register of licence holders maintained by the Environment Agency.

The Act maintains the offence of purchasing scrap metal with cash that came into force in December but removes the exemptions for itinerant collectors and brings motor salvage operators within the definition of a scrap metal dealer for the first time. The Home Office anticipates that the Act will come into force in October 2013; it will issue guidance in due course. (28 February 2013)

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Hazardous Waste

Environment Agency: Mobile services – A guide to the Hazardous Waste Regulations: hazardous waste can be produced by mobile services operators working at sites that they do not own or occupy, including construction, service, maintenance and repair activities. The mobile service operator can produce limited amounts of waste at each customer premises without those premises being notified to the Agency. This guide explains what a mobile service is and what the limitations are for the mobile service activity, and how to complete consignment notes. (25 February 2013)

Environment Agency: Regulatory Position Statement – Consignee returns: Relaxation of reporting requirements for specified hazardous wastes: when hazardous waste is collected from one place and delivered to another, a consignment note is used to track the movement, with a fee payable to the Environment Agency. The site receiving the waste (the consignee) must report to the Agency every quarter with a summary of the details in the consignment notes received. This statement identifies the circumstances where the consignee doesn't have to enter each individual consignment for movements of specified hazardous wastes. (27 February 2013)

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Health and Safety

DWP: Reclaiming health and safety for all – A review of progress one year on: this report by Professor Ragnar Lofstedt looks at how well the recommendations in his November 2011 report ‘Reclaiming health and safety for all: an independent review of health and safety legislation’ have been implemented so far and how those still to be delivered are progressing, one year on. It also considers the delivery of the recommendations in Lord Young’s report ‘Common Sense, Common Safety’, published in October 2010. He concludes that all his recommendations have either been delivered already or are on track to be completed by the agreed date, and in some cases the Government has gone further than he proposed. Regarding Lord Young’s report, he finds that 23 of those 35 recommendations have been implemented in full and the majority of the remaining recommendations are moving towards delivery or are awaiting space in the legislative timetable or a suitable legislative vehicle for implementation. (4 February 2013)
DWP has also published A progress report on implementation of health and safety reforms that lists steps taken to implement the recommendations in the two reports.

HSE: Blueprint to set out health and safety issues and solutions for waste industry: reports on a conference organised by HSE and the Waste Industry Safety and Health Forum that discussed the key health and safety issues facing the waste industry and what needs to be done to tackle its poor health and safety record. The forum announced that it will be publishing a plan for addressing death, injury and ill health in the waste and recycling industry in April, which will include sections on leadership, competence, worker involvement, support for small business, and creating safer, healthier workplaces. (15 February 2013)
Delegates at the event were urged to sign up to a Statement of Intent, making a public commitment  to improving health and safety standards and performance across the waste management and recycling industry.

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Landfill

Waste and Emissions Trading Act 2003 (Amendment etc) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/141): these regulations, which come into force on 31 March 2013, amend ss.4(1) and 24(1) of the 2003 Act and revoke the Landfill Allowances and Trading Scheme (England) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/3212) so as to bring the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) to an end in England at the close of the 2012/13 scheme year. They include revocations and savings provisions for reconciling landfill allowances in relation to the 2012/13 scheme year. The regulations maintain existing obligations on waste disposal authorities to keep records and make returns to the Environment Agency in respect of local authority collected municipal waste. The information provided in these returns is needed to report on recycling targets as required under the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98. This information may also be helpful to calculate the local authority element of targets under the Landfill Directive 1999/31. Penalties apply for failure to comply with these obligations, and monitoring duties are placed on the Environment Agency with respect to these obligations. (31 January 2013)

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Municipal Waste

DEFRA: Local Authority collected waste for England – quarterly statistics: sets out provisional quarterly estimates for Quarter 1 2012/13 of local authority collected waste generation and management for England and the regions. The figures show a 2% reduction in household waste generated, compared with the same quarter in 2011/12. Local authorities recycled, composted or reused 45% of the waste they collected in Quarter 1 2012/13, more than was landfilled. The use of incineration with energy recovery increased by over 20% to 1.3m tonnes. (7 February 2013)

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Permitting and Licensing

DEFRA: Draft Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 – A package of proposals: seeks views on a number of changes to SI 2010/675, including: 

  • removing the requirement for waste businesses to have to secure planning permission for certain waste operations before an environmental permit can be issued; 
  • providing a registration scheme for low risk discharges to groundwater from some Ground Source Heating and Cooling systems; 
  • simplifying requirements on regulators in maintaining twin systems of public registers containing information connected with permit determinations; 
  • possibly transferring the handling of appeals under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 from the Planning Inspectorate to the environment jurisdiction of the First Tier Tribunal; and 
  • a number of other miscellaneous proposals.

The consultation closes on 4 April 2013. (7 February 2013)

Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2013 (SI 2013/390): these regulations, which mainly come into force on 27 February 2013, amend the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/675) (the Principal Regulations) so as to transpose the IPPC Directive 2010/75 which recasts seven current Directives into a single one about regulating emissions from various industrial activities. Much of the material in the component Directives is substantively unchanged but there are some tightened or clarified requirements. The regulations also remove some otiose descriptions of industrial activities from Sch.1 to the Principal Regulations and correct errors in the Amendment (No.2) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/2933). DEFRA is currently developing a work plan with the aim of producing a consolidated version of the Principal Regulations as soon as practicable.

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Pollution Prevention and Control

Environment Agency: Pollution inventory reporting – General guidance: A(1) installations that are regulated under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 have to submit data to the Pollution Inventory each year. The deadline for submitting data this year is 28 February 2013. This general guidance sets out how to report and provides information applicable to all business and industries. (31 January 2013)
There is also guidance tailored for specific sectors, including: 

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Waste Carriers

Environment Agency: Waste carriers, brokers and dealers – Registration and responsibilities: advises on when someone needs to register as a waste carrier, broker or dealer. It also sets out how to renew or change one’s registration and explains the responsibilities as a waste carrier, broker or dealer. (1 February 2013)

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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Environment Agency: WEEE evidence and national WEEE protocols – Guidance GN04: guidance on how to issue evidence of the reuse and treatment of WEEE, how to use the national WEEE protocols for small mixed WEEE and large domestic appliances, and how to meet the recovery and recycling targets for WEEE. (22 February 2013)

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Waste PFI

DEFRA: Local authority funding for waste management: announces that, following an assessment of the amount of residual waste treatment infrastructure that is required nationally to meet its obligation to reduce the amount of biodegradable waste (BMW) that is sent to landfill (see below), it has been decided to withdraw the provisional allocation of Waste Infrastructure Credits to the three remaining local authority led projects still in procurement,  namely: Bradford and Calderdale; Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority and Halton; and North Yorkshire and City of York. (21 February 2013)

DEFRA: Forecasting 2020 waste arisings and treatment capacity: this paper sets out the analysis used to forecast levels of waste arisings and treatment capacity in England in 2020, which are used to assess the amount of BMW that goes to landfill and so whether England is expected to meet the necessary diversion levels for the EU Landfill Directive that the amount of BMW sent to landfill in 2020 is reduced to 35% of 1995 levels (i.e. to 10.2m tonnes). It provides estimates of the likelihood of meeting the Landfill Directive target and the impact from withdrawing DEFRA’s provisional allocation of financial support for those PFI projects that are yet to reach financial close. (21 February 2013)

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Disclaimer

This update is intended to give general information about legal topics and is not intended to apply to specific circumstances. Its contents should not, therefore, be regarded as constituting legal advice and should not be relied on as such. In relation to any particular problem that you may have you are advised to seek specific legal advice.

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