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:

   Enforcement    Landfill
   Environmental Liability    Permitting and Licensing
   European Waste Policy



Environmental Civil Sanctions (England) Order 2010 (SI 2010/1157): this Order, which came into force on 6 April 2010, gives the Environment Agency and Natural England the power to impose civil sanctions (i.e. fixed or variable penalties, compliance notices, restoration notices, stop notices and enforcement undertakings) for a range of environmental offences.  It  sets out the basis on which civil sanctions may be used, the offences in primary legislation for which civil sanctions may be imposed, and specifies which civil sanctions are available for each offence.
It should be read with the Environmental Civil Sanctions (Miscellaneous Amendments) (England) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/1159) that permit Natural England and the Environment Agency to impose specified civil sanctions in relation to breaches of specific secondary legislation. (26 March 2010)

Environment Agency: Composting site fined 20,000 GBP: reports that TEG Group plc has been fined £20,000 with £2,843 costs by Leyland Magistrates' Court for failing to comply with an enforcement notice issued under reg.36(1) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007. The offence arose after the Agency found that more than three times the permitted levels of waste was being treated on the company's site. (14 April 2010)

Environment Agency: Enforcement powers (RGN 11): high level guidance to the Agency’s staff on how to use enforcement powers at regulated facilities including installations, waste operations, radioactive substances activities, mining waste operations, water discharge activities and groundwater activities under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. It should be used with the Agency’s Enforcement and Prosecution Policy that sets out the key principles it applies to enforcement. (29 April 2010)

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Environmental Liability

Corby BC: Out-of-court agreement reached between Corby Borough Council and Corby young people: announces that the council has reached a final settlement agreement with 19 young people relating to birth defects that the claimants alleged were the result of the council’s negligence, breach of its statutory duty under s.34 EPA 1990 and public nuisance in connection with the reclamation of an extensive British Steel site in Corby in the 1980s and 1990s (see Corby Group Litigation v Corby BC [2009] EWHC 1944 (TCC)). The court held that the council was extensively negligent in its control and management of the sites over a 14 year period. As a result of the agreement, the council has agreed to drop its challenge to that ruling and instead will immediately pay compensation to each of the children, without accepting liability in the case. The financial terms of settlement remain confidential and in the case of the younger children will require approval by the court. (16 April 2010)

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European Waste Policy

European Environment Agency: Country fact sheets on waste policies: these fact sheets provide information on the legislative framework on waste and waste management plans for many European countries (not the UK). More specific information is included on legislation, policies and instruments for waste prevention and for the management of biodegradable municipal waste and construction and demolition waste. (20 April 2010)

LGA: Rough guide to European affairs – European Commission work programme 2010: highlights key issues for councils in the EC’s 2010/2011 annual work programme, published in March 2010, which sets out proposed EU legislation and policies. It includes a note of planned proposals on structural funding, waste and energy, procurement, and a quality framework for public services. (29 April 2010)

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LGA: £110m cost to taxpayers of landfill tax extension: reports that new analysis by the LGA shows that at current rates of landfill, Government plans to increase landfill tax will add an extra £110m to council rubbish costs, with landfill tax adding as much as £49 a year to council tax bills by 2014. The LGA is calling for an open and fair way of returning money raised by landfill tax to local councils so that council taxpayers do not pick up the bill.  (3 April 2010)

HM Treasury: Government response to modernising landfill tax legislation: sets out the Government’s formal response to the April 2009 consultation that sought stakeholder views on how to ensure that landfill tax continues to be an effective means of reducing the volume of waste that goes to landfill, by encouraging alternative waste management treatments, including greater reuse and recycling of waste materials. In particular, it proposed redefining what constitutes a taxable disposal and what wastes should qualify for the lower rate of tax. In light of the consultation, the Government has decided that the list of wastes that qualify for the lower rate will remain broadly the same as at present, but the Treasury will introduce new qualifying criteria for the lower rate to provide a more transparent environmental rationale. There are no plans to proceed with changes to way that waste disposal is defined in the legislation for tax purposes, as originally set out in the consultation; instead, the Government will continue to assess the impact of the legislative changes made in September 2009 to ensure they continue to provide clarity, support the environmental aims of the tax, and are not open to abuse. (7 April 2010)

Environment Agency: Understanding the Landfill Directive (LFD 1): high level guidance that provides more clarity to the Agency’s staff and the landfill industry to help them understand how the Agency intends to regulate landfills under the Landfill Directive 99/31 and Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010. (29 April 2010)

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Permitting and Licensing

Environment Agency: Environmental Permitting Regulations Operational Risk Appraisal Scheme (Opra for EPR), version 3.5: Opra is a risk assessment tool that  the Agency uses assess the risk to the environment from sites that it regulates with environmental permits. Opra allows it to target its resources at facilities that pose the greatest risk to the environment. This document explains how Opra works.
The Opra for EPR scheme 2010 has four annexes:  the first three give details of how to apply Opra and work out the Opra-banded profile for Tier-3 Installations, Waste facilities and Mining waste operations. The fourth annex gives information about permits with fixed charges. (1 April 2010)

Environment Agency: Environmental Permitting Charging Scheme Guidance 2010/11: this document is a guide to the Agency’s charges under the Environmental Permitting Charging Scheme. It covers the different types of operations that require a permit under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. It explains the scheme and what charges are pay to register with the Agency or obtain and hold a permit. (6 April 2010)

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