This Update contains brief details of Government and EU publications, legislation, cases and other developments in England and Wales relevant to those interested in 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:

   Enforcement    Procurement
   Food Waste    Recycling
   Landfill    Waste Collection
   Municipal Waste    Waste EEE
   Permits and Licensing    Waste Management

Enforcement

Welsh Government: Call for evidence on the use and effectiveness of Civil Sanctions for environmental offences: seeks views on whether civil sanctions that were introduced through the Environmental Civil Sanctions (Wales) Order 2010, the Environmental Civil Sanctions (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) Regulations 2010 and the Single Use Carrier Bags Charge (Wales) Regulations 2010 have been implemented efficiently and effectively since their introduction. The purpose of the call for evidence is to gain an understanding of stakeholders’ experiences of civil sanctions, their effectiveness in influencing behaviour change and compliance, and their influence on collaboration between the regulator and those regulated. The consultation closes on 30 March 2015. (2 February 2015)

Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/324): these regulations, which come into force on 6 April 2015, insert a new Sch.23A into the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (the 2010 Regulations), giving the Environment Agency the power to accept enforcement undertakings for non-compliance with certain offences under the 2010 Regulations. Enforcement undertakings are voluntary offers made by offenders to restore and remediate any damage they have caused, in agreement with the regulator, without attracting a criminal record. (16 February 2015)

DEFRA: Waste crime – Part 1: A consultation on proposals to enhance enforcement powers at regulated facilities; Part II: A call for evidence on other measures to tackle waste crime and entrenched poor performance in the waste management industry: seeks views on proposals to enhance enforcement powers for the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and local authorities to help them tackle entrenched non-compliance at sites permitted (or previously permitted) to handle waste. It is also asking for evidence on a range of measures to tackle waste crime and persistent poor performance in the waste management industry. The consultation closes on 6 May 2015. (26 February 2015)

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Food Waste

WRAP: Strategies to achieve economic and environmental gains by reducing food waste: this report by WRAP and the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, highlights the need for action on food waste and provides concrete examples of how this can be achieved. It also identifies significant opportunities to improve economic performance and tackle climate change by reducing the amount of food that is wasted in agriculture, transport, storage and consumption. (26 February 2015)

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Landfill

Welsh Government: Landfill Disposals Tax: the Wales Act 2014 gives the National Assembly new powers to develop its own devolved taxes. This paper seeks views on proposals for a new tax on disposals to landfill that would be better suited to Welsh circumstances and priorities, and which would replace the existing Landfill Tax from April 2018. The paper discusses: tax rates and taxable disposals; proposals for improving tax compliance and enforcement; options to simplify and modernise tax administration; and whether and how a proportion of Landfill Disposals Tax receipts could be used to enhance community wellbeing. The consultation closes on 19 May 2015. (24 February 2015)

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Municipal Waste

CIWM: Waste on the front line – Challenges and innovation: The impact of austerity across local authority waste, recycling and street cleansing: this research has found a range of innovative approaches being taken by councils across the UK and Ireland to deliver efficiency improvements and savings. Overall, 69% of respondents reported budget cuts related to austerity measures and 28% cuts due to changing council priorities, with a further 16% facing a budget freeze. The survey found that the most common strategic initiatives to reduce costs have been partnership working, automation of both customer contact and back office systems, and renegotiation of collection and treatment contracts. Operational measures include rationalising collection rounds and optimising routes, charging for bulky waste collections, and extending vehicle and equipment life. 
There is also an opportunities checklist to provide examples that an authority may wish to consider when responding to the cuts. (25 February 2015)

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Permits and Licensing

Environment Agency: Guidance on low risk waste activities: sets out the Environment Agency’s regulatory position on low risk waste activities. It applies only to waste arising in and activities carried out in England. It lists those activities for which the Environment Agency do not believe it is in the public interest to expect the operators to obtain an environmental permit. The activity must be a recycling or recovery activity or involve the disposal of waste in the site of production. (16 February 20150 

Environment Agency: Environmental permitting charging scheme and guidance: from April 2014 (includes Materials Facilities addendum): this guidance covers charges including those for activities that require a permit (licence) or registration from the Environment Agency under environmental permitting regulations and other laws. It has been updated to include an addendum on "Materials Facilities monitoring charge guidance" that applies to some operators who sort 1,000 tonnes per year or more of mixed dry household or household-like waste material, to produce glass, metal, paper or plastic recyclate - see p.134 of the guidance. (18 February 2015)

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Procurement

Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/102): these regulations, which mainly come into force on 26 February 2015, implement the Public Procurement Directive 2014/24 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which provides modernised rules for the procurement of goods, services and works above certain thresholds by public authorities. The regulations also re-enact the relevant provisions of the Remedies Directives 89/665 (as amended) on remedies and review procedures for public procurement. They revoke and replace SI 2006/5. (5 February 2015).

Cabinet Office: Social Value Act review: this review examines how the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 has been performing in its first two years. It finds that the Act is having a positive effect where it is taken up, and that it has clear potential to act as a tool for smarter procurement given the right application. The review also makes recommendations around how to further develop the social value agenda and to move the Act into its next phase of implementation. The report includes case studies, practical guidance on how to apply the Act, and a framework and principles for measurement.
The Minister for the Cabinet Office Rob Wilson has written to Lord Young asking him to prevent the Act’s thresholds from increasing to €750,000 for many services when the new Public Contracts Regulations 2015 come into force. (13 February 2015)

Cabinet Office: Procurement Policy Note 03/15: Reforms to make public procurement more accessible to SMEs: guidance on reforms which are implemented in Part 4 of the new Public Contracts Regulations 2015. They include:

  • removing a pre-qualification stage for procurements below the EU thresholds;
  • a requirement for contracting authorities to include provisions to ensure prompt payment through the supply chain; and
  • a requirement to advertise public sector opportunities in one place (Contracts Finder)

The Regulations will, primarily, come into force on 26 February 2015. (18 February 2015)

Crown Commercial Service: Public Contracts Regulations 2015 – Statutory guidance for contracting authorities and suppliers on paying undisputed invoices in 30 days down the supply chain: this guidance, issued under reg.113 of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 relates to the payment of valid and undisputed invoices within 30 days. (27 February 2015)

Crown Commercial Service: Public Contracts Regulations 2015 – New requirements relating to pre qualification questionnaires to help businesses access public sector contracts: statutory guidance on qualitative selection for above EU threshold procurements. Contracting authorities must have regard to this guidance for all new procurements that commence from 26 February 2015, when the new regulations come into force. It recommends that all public sector bodies subject to this guidance should adopt the attached set of standardised selection questions when assessing supplier suitability for providing goods and services. (27 February 2015)

Bevan Brittan byte size procurement updates: we have published a further two articles in our "byte size" legal updates, in which we look at the new Public Sector Directive and implementing Regulations and deconstruct them into a topic based approach. For each topic we provide a brief explanation of the provisions in the new Directive. We also highlight some of their practical implications. They cover:

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Recycling

WRAP: Recycle Now campaign launches new Recycling Locator: announces a new online tool that is designed to help make recycling information clearer and more straightforward for householders, so they can easily find out how and where items can be recycled locally. The Recycling Locator allows householders to identify the materials that are accepted as part of their local recycling collection scheme, both at the kerbside and at bring sites. Local authorities and retailers can embed the locator on to their own website. Information about recycling collections is updated by local authorities via a live feed from LARSU (Local Authority Recycling Scheme Updater), WRAP's online tool. An additional function of the Recycling Locator uses data held by Valpak to provide details of the nearest recycling ‘bring banks’ and directions to the locations from a householder’s home. (4 February 2015)

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Waste Collection

Environment Agency: Separate collection of recyclables: from January 2015, the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/988) require the 'separate collection' of paper, plastic, metals & glass for recycling. This briefing note gives information on the regulations to those who produce or collect waste. It is not statutory guidance, but provides information to help those affected to meet the requirements. It describes how the Environment Agency will discharge its regulatory duty. (22 December 2014)

NHBC: Avoiding rubbish design – Providing for bin storage on new housing developments: the NHBC has published guidance for architects and designers in helping to alleviate 'bin blight', with seven golden rules for good storage design as well as best practice examples for the UK housebuilding industry. These changes will now be incorporated into fresh statutory guidance set to be published in March 2015. (8 February 2015)

DCLG: Written answer to parliamentary question on household waste collection: sets out Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon's answer to a parliamentary question asked by Lord Greaves on the Government's Weekly Collection Support Scheme: To ask Her Majesty’s Government which local authorities in England have taken part in the Weekly Collection Support Scheme; how many authorities took part in the expression of interest process; which have subsequently received financial support, and how much; and of those, which have reinstated weekly collections of general (“grey” or “residual”) waste, which have used the support to collect food waste separately, and which have used it in other ways. It includes a list of the authorities that have received funding from the Scheme, with details of the projects. Lord Ahmad also lists all the Government's actions re weekly collections since 2010. (17 February 2015)

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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

DBIS: Recycling up and costs down under new regime: reports the amount of WEEE collected and financed by producers for 2014. The figures show a 4% increase in collections compared to 2013 and estimated savings to producers of electrical equipment in excess of £18m. (25 February 2015)

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Waste Management

DEFRA: Resource management – A catalyst for growth and productivity: waste management activity makes a significant contribution to the economy by capturing value from waste, and indirectly by generating sales for companies that supply goods and services that support resource management, reducing costs for households and business that rely on it, and contributing to wider resource security. This report sets out initial analysis on the recent and potential future contribution of the sector to wider economic growth across three broad themes: Extracting greater value from waste; Increasing resource efficiency; and Increasing the export of goods and services. (5 February 2015)

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