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    Transfer of Waste
   Environmental Taxes    WEEE
   Litter and Fly-tipping    Waste Minimisation
   Recycling    Waste Projects


Environmental Information

Surrey Heath BC and McCullen v Information Commissioner (EA/2010/0034) (FIT (IR)): McC made a complaint to the council in relation to their decision to permit the felling of 200 trees within a property. McC alleged that in granting permission, the council had treated a council planning officer more favourably than an “ordinary” applicant. The council’s monitoring officer produced a report but the council refused McC’s request to see that report on the grounds that it fell within s.42 FOIA (legal professional privilege). He then complained to the Information Commissioner, who decided that the matter should be dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR). The council then refused to disclose the report on a number of grounds, including that the disputed information was legally privileged and that because of this its disclosure would adversely affect the course of justice under reg.12(5)(b) EIR.
The Information Rights Tribunal held that the public interest lay strongly in favour of disclosure, subject to the redaction of some personal data. (11 August 2010)

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Environmental Taxes

HMRC: Notice of requirement to give security for environmental taxes (ET1): the legislation on Insurance Premium Tax, Landfill Tax, Aggregates Levy and Climate Change Levy gives HMRC power to require a business to provide an amount of security if it considers that tax is at risk of being unpaid by the business. This Notice is HMRC’s Statement of Practice on the circumstances where it may require security for Insurance Premium Tax, Landfill Tax, Aggregates Levy and Climate Change Levy. (12 August 2010)

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Litter and Fly-tipping

LGA: Car litter louts costing council taxpayers millions: reports that the LGA is calling for a change in the law to enable councils to take action against the registered keeper of a vehicle from which rubbish is thrown if no one will admit to it, in a system similar to speeding and fly-tipping. At present, if a council officer reports litter being dumped from a moving vehicle a fine can be posted to the keeper, but if they deny the offence and no one else comes forward the authority must prove in court who littered. (26 August 2010)

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WRAP: Realising the value of recovered plastics - an update:  this market situation report identifies the key developments in the UK markets for recovered plastics since 2007 and tracks trends in collections, existing and planned domestic reprocessing capacity, export markets, prices and legislative issues. (20 August 2010)

DCLG: Eric Pickles praises Halton for joining the recycling reward trend: reports that the Communities Secretary has praised Halton BC's recycling scheme. Under the voluntary recycling scheme, which started off as a pilot, residents earn points for recycling which can be spent in local shops and restaurants. Residents can earn up to £135 worth of points a year from over 120 reward partners, at no other cost to residents. Mr Pickles believes this is the right way to encourage households to recycle waste. Halton BC is the second English council to go for a reward scheme, following on from Windsor and Maidenhead RBC. (27 August 2010)

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Transfer of Waste

Northern Ireland Executive: Minister fires warning as waste repatriation gets under way: comments on the illegal dumping of waste in Northern Ireland as officials from the Northern Ireland Environment Agency have begun the process of returning thousands of tonnes of illegally deposited waste from Northern Ireland to the Republic of Ireland (ROI). The operation will repatriate around 250,000 tonnes of illegally dumped waste. This repatriation process follows a 2007 Roadmap agreement between the two jurisdictions and a further framework agreement in June 2009 which agreed measures for dealing with sites containing waste from ROI. Under the agreement, Northern Ireland will contribute 20% of the costs of site works and transport of the waste, while all disposal costs will be met by ROI. The waste will be removed using powers contained in Art.24 of the EC Regulation on Shipments of Waste. (3 August 2010)
See also the the Irish Environment, Heritage and Local Government Department press release.

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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

WRAP: Good practice collection and treatment: this guidance offers ideas and opportunities for going beyond compliance and improving practices, for all those involved in the collection and treatment of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE). It outlines how key audiences can go beyond the minimum requirements of the WEEE Regulations and Code of Practice, identifies how they can work cooperatively, and identifies good practice options. For waste disposal authorities and waste collection authorities that are contracting the service to a waste management company, the guidance helps identify criteria that they need to include in the waste management contract to maximise WEEE recycling and reuse, and to clarify issues in the partnership agreement with the Producer Compliance Scheme partner. (20 August 2010)

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Waste Minimisation

DEFRA: Responsibility deals the way forward for business waste: reports on a speech by Environment Minister Lord Henley in which he discusses how voluntary responsibility deals on waste will remove the need for further regulation and will lead to less waste and more recycling with the added benefits of businesses saving money and helping to protect the environment. (16 August 2010)

WRAP: Total carrier bag use continues to fall: reports that new figures show that the UK’s leading supermarkets have continued to reduce the total number of bags given out by 41% since figures were first recorded in 2006. (25 August 2010)

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Waste Projects

Viridor: Avonmouth appeal submitted to Bristol City Council: announces that Viridor has lodged a formal appeal against the council's decision to refuse planning permission for a a Materials Recycling Facility and an Energy from Waste plant in Avonmouth. The public inquiry into the appeal is scheduled to start on 30 November 2011. A final decision on the application is expected by summer 2012. (26 August 2010) 

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