This Alert contains brief details of recent 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:

   Environmental Information    Municipal Waste
   Environmental Liability    Permitting and Licensing
   Environmental Taxes    Procurement
   Hazardous Substances    Waste Disposal
   Household Waste    Waste Management


Environmental Information

INSPIRE Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/3157): these regulations, which come into force on 31 December 2009, implement the INSPIRE Directive 2007/2, which concerns the creation and operation of national and EU infrastructures relating to spatial information. The Directive aims to make existing relevant location-related metadata conform to prescribed standards and improve access to spatial data by the public and other public authorities. The regulations impose new duties on public authorities (including local authorities) regarding their spatial data sets and services. Certain provisions of the Directive are dependent on the EC adopting further Implementing Rules, and where those rules have not yet been adopted, those provisions are not implemented in these regulations. As the EC adopts further Implementing Rules under the Directive additional improvements will be made to the information infrastructure. (7 December 2009) 

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Environmental Liability

Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/3275): these regulations, which come into force on 12 January 2010, correct a defect in the application provisions of the 2009 Regulations (SI 2009/153), which implement the Environmental Damage Directive 2004/35, so that they correctly express the area of application of the 2009 Regulations around England by extending it out to the limits of the seabed of the continental shelf and anywhere other than the seabed out to the limits of the renewable energy zone, as required by the Directive. In addition, they correct the 2009 Regulations to ensure that any activities expressly authorised within the relevant provisions of the Habitats and Birds Directives are excluded from the definition of damage to protected species and natural habitats in the Regulations. (15 December 2009)

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Environmental Taxes

House of Commons Library: The future for green taxes (Research Paper 09/86): this paper sets out to explain environmental taxes and their use in the context of existing and forthcoming policy and legislation. In particular it sets out: how green taxes are defined; the arguments for and against their use; Labour government policy on green taxation; the new context for environmental taxation in terms of climate change targets; and proposals for the future use of green taxes. (1 December 2009)

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Hazardous Substances

DEFRA: Consultation on proposals for GB offences and penalties legislation in relation to EC Regulation 1005/2010 on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer and proposed amendment to the Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2009: seeks views on draft Regulations that prescribe offences and penalties applicable to infringements of EC Regulation 1005/2009 on substances that deplete the ozone layer, together with proposed powers for authorised persons to enforce these Regulations. The EC Regulation lays down the rules for the production, trade, use, recovery, recycling, reclamation and destruction of substances that deplete the ozone layer, on the reporting of information related to those substances and on the trade and use of products and equipment containing or relying on those substances. The proposed Regulations also provide enforcement powers for enforcement bodies and apply the proposed Regulations to offshore oil and gas installations that use equipment containing controlled substances. Comments are required by 9 March 2010. (14 December 2009)

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Household Waste

DEFRA: Enhancing participation in kitchen waste collections - final project report: sets out the findings from research into food waste collections, which surveyed over 4,000 households around the country. It shows that 92 per cent of people who frequently use their council’s food collection find it easy to use. 78 per cent of people support having a separate food waste collection to enable recycling of food, and two thirds of households said they used their separate food waste collection. (23 December 2009)

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DEFRA: Changing the UK approach to the EU landfill diversion targets: DEFRA is considering making changes to the way that waste going to landfill in the UK is classified. The existing approach predominantly focuses on waste collected by local authorities from households.  The new approach to municipal waste will include all biodegradable waste landfilled that is coded under Chapter 20 “Municipal Waste (household waste and similar commercial, industrial and institutional wastes)” in the European Waste Catalogue. It will also include some waste coded under Chapter 19 which covers waste landfilled that has been through some form of treatment process.  The change will bring the UK approach into line with that of a number of other European Member States. (3 December 2009)

Environment Agency: Report on the Landfill Allowances and Trading Scheme 2008/09: this is the Agency’s annual report for the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) in England for 2008/09. The aim of the Scheme is to divert biodegradable municipal waste away from landfill in line with the UK target in the European Landfill Directive. It shows the progress England has made towards meeting this target. (4 December 2009)

R (Newport City Council) v Welsh Ministers [2009] EWHC 3149 (Admin) (Admin Ct): N, a waste disposal authority, applied for judicial review of the Welsh Ministers' decision about the size of the landfill allowances allocated to waste disposal authorities for the years from 2010/11 to 2019/20. It complained that the final allowances were set at a level which substantially differed from indicative allowances previously notified as a result of the Welsh Ministers changing the baseline for calculating the allowances from the level of waste production in 2001/2, the baseline used in the first round of allocation decisions in 2004 (for the period until 2009/10), to that of waste production in 2007/8.  N contended that the decision to change the baseline was seriously flawed on ordinary Wednesbury principles, and was irrational because it had the perverse effect of penalising authorities, such as N, who had taken active waste reduction measures since 2001/2002 and rewarding authorities which had done little or nothing towards waste reduction in that time.
The court held, refusing the application, that the Welsh Ministers’ decision was neither perverse nor irrational. They were entitled to conclude that they should base their calculations on data gathered under an up-to-date system in which they had confidence, and it was neither irrational nor perverse to decide not to engage in a difficult exercise of retrospective recalculation of flawed and inaccurate data in an attempt to eliminate the errors. The Ministers were not required to take into account each authority’s particular activities in the earlier period when determining whether an authority or authorities would be substantially disadvantaged by the choice of a particular baseline for the second round of allocations; they were entitled to look at overall trends in and across waste disposal authorities individually and as a group, and that is what they had done. (4 December 2009)

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Municipal Waste

Welsh Assembly Government: Municipal waste management report, 2008-09: presents the latest national statistics on municipal waste in Wales. The bulletin includes information about the amount of municipal waste collected from household and non-household sources and the levels of recycling in Wales. The information presented relates to 2008-09, together with figures for previous years. (1 December 2009) 

Waste Improvement Network: Waste services - policy checklist: draft for consultation: this draft policy checklist has been developed to help councils manage the increasing complexity of waste services, including where they are looking to work together more closely with other councils in future and so need to create a ‘baseline’ of current policies. It is the first in a series of three checklists that are primarily aimed at senior managers and policy and strategy officers in both collection and disposal authorities. They are designed to reflect the increasing importance of collection policies to WDAs and of waste treatment and disposal infrastructure to WCAs. Comments are required by 31 January 2010. You will need to be reigstered with WIN to access this document. (15 December 2009) 

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Permitting and Licensing

Environment Agency: Draft Regulatory Guidance Series, No RGN 1 - Understanding the meaning of operator: seeks views on a draft high level legal and policy guide to who can be an operator for the purposes of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 and therefore hold an environmental permit. (10 December 2009)

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IDeA: Members’ guide – top tips for better procurement in waste management: the member’s role is to ask the fundamental questions about the way in which waste management is currently procured and whether proper risk management is in place. This guide looks at: what waste management comprises, why it should matter to members, and what the opportunities are. (30 November 2009) 

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Waste Disposal

Mayor of London: Waste board turns up heat on recycling: announces that the London Waste and Recycling Board has approved £12m funding that will help secure the development of a waste gasification plant in Havering, which will use new, clean technology to process local waste in a more environmentally friendly way to landfill or traditional incineration. Using a process called gasification to generate electricity, the state of the art facility will be the first of its kind in London and the largest in the UK. (8 December 2009)

Waste Management

Environment Agency: Waste information 2008: summarises the types and quantities of waste handled by permitted waste management facilities in England and Wales in 2008. (3 December 2009)

DEFRA: Understanding current management arrangements for Schedule 2 of the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992: this is the final report by Enviros Consulting Ltd on research that was commissioned by DEFRA to provide evidence with which to support a consultation on Sch.2 of the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992. It follows from concerns that a number of premises, such as schools and hospitals, which currently employ private contractors to manage their waste, might find it economically beneficial for them to request household waste collections from the local authority and avoid the increasing costs of collection and disposal. This would have significant cost implications for local authorities who would have to cover the cost of treatment / disposal of these wastes. The research aimed to: quantify the amount of waste collected from relevant properties by both local authorities and the private contractors; and assess the financial and technical impacts of local authorities collecting the Schedule 2 waste currently collected by the private contractors. (4 December 2009)

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