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    Recycling
   Health and Safety    Wales
   Incineration    Waste Collection
   Litter and Fly-tipping    Waste Management
   Permitting and Licensing


Draft Environmental Civil Sanctions (England) Order 2010: this draft Order, which is due to come into force on 6 April 2010, gives the Environment Agency and Natural England the power to impose civil sanctions for a range of environmental offences. The civil sanctions include: Compliance notices; Restoration notices; Enforcement undertakings; Fixed or variable penalty notices; and Stop notices. Appeals are to the First-tier Tribunal. (11 February 2010) 

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Health and Safety

HSE: Company and director prosecuted for mercury exposure: Electrical Waste Recycling Group Ltd (formerly known as Matrix Direct Recycle Ltd) has been fined £140,000 with £35,127 costs by Bradford Crown Court after pleading guilty to breaching s.2(1) Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002 and the Control of Lead at Work Regulations 2002. The prosecution arose after 20 employees were found to have levels of mercury in their system above UK guidance levels, and five of them showed extremely high levels following exposure to toxic mercury fumes between October 2007 and August 2008. Company director Craig Thompson was also fined £5,000 after pleading guilty to breaching reg.7(1) of the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 2002. (5 February 2010)

HSE: HSE calls for careful driving in depots after council worker is killed: Dudley MBC has been fined £30,000 with £20,000 by Wolverhampton Crown Court after pleading guilty to breaching s.2(1) Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, following an incident at a council depot when a council employee was struck and killed by a wheeled shovel loader being driven by another employee. (8 February 2010)

HSE: Buckinghamshire company pleads guilty following death: Biffa Waste Services Ltd has pleaded guilty at West Berkshire Magistrates’ Court to breaching reg.3(1)(b) Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, after a member of the public was killed at Newbury’s Civic Amenity Site in 2007. The case has been committed to Reading Crown Court for sentence. (9 February 2010)

HSE: Bin man’s death leads to £130,000 fine for company: Veolia ES (UK) Ltd has been fined £130,000 with £220,000 costs by Aylesbury Crown Court after pleading guilty to breaches of s.2(1) and s.3(1) Health and Safety at Work, etc Act 1974, following an incident where a recycling bin fell from the bin hoist on the company’s recycling lorry and landed on the employee refuse collector’s head, killing him. (12 February 2010)

MoJ: Companies could be forced to publicise corporate manslaughter conviction: reports that courts can now make publicity orders against companies convicted of corporate manslaughter, that would compel them to inform shareholders, customers and (in the case of local authorities, hospital trusts and police forces) local people of the conviction, giving details of the case, the fine imposed and any remedial work they have been ordered to do. The publicity order could require the company to put a statement on its website or make an announcement in a newspaper. (16 February 2010)

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Health Protection Agency: The impact on health of emissions to air from municipal waste incinerators: reviews research undertaken to examine the suggested links between emissions from municipal waste incinerators and effects on health. it concludes that while it is not possible to rule out adverse health effects from modern, well regulated municipal waste incinerators with complete certainty, any potential damage to the health of those living close-by is likely to be very small, if detectable. (22 February 2010) 

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Litter and Fly-tipping

DEFRA: The Local Environmental Quality Survey of England Year 8 Report  (2008/09): this annual survey conducted by Keep Britain Tidy measures and grades the degree to which streets are disfigured with litter, grime and graffiti and takes into account levels of difficulty for mechanical cleansing to help local authorities select the most appropriate cleansing methods for each different type of land-use. The report describes the Cleanliness State of the Nation and is intended to assist both cleansing professionals and the public at large to understand what are the real issues in relation to improving cleanliness and local environmental quality. Local authorities should use this report alongside their own returns for National Indicator 195 to compare their own performance against the national and regional benchmarks in this report. These latest figures show that in the last year the number of sites where non-alcoholic drinks cans and bottles were found was down from 57% of areas surveyed to 51%, with small decreases in the number of sites with cigarette ends, fast food litter, broken glass and discarded food. However, there was a slight increase in the number of sites where dog mess was found - up to 8% from 6% last year and increases in the amount of graffiti and plastic bags. (11 February 2010)  

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Permitting and Licensing

Draft Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010: these draft regulations, which are due to come into force on 6 April 2010, provide a consolidated system of environmental permitting in England and Wales. They replace the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/3538) which covered waste operations, mining waste operations, mobile plant and installations, the water discharges consent system in Part 3 of the Water Resources Act 1991, the groundwater permitting system in the Groundwater (England and Wales) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2902) and the system of radioactive substances regulation in the Radioactive Substances Act 1993. The Regulations transpose provisions of 18 Directives which impose obligations required to be delivered through permits or capable of being delivered through permits. The new Environmental Permitting system aims to simplify permit applications, amendments and variations for both industry and regulator and cut unnecessary red tape, so as to enable regulators to focus resources on medium and high-risk operations whilst continuing to protect the environment and human health. (3 February 2010)

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Taylor Intelligence: Taking recycling to a new level: sets out findings from a study conducted by Professor James Baird of Glasgow Caledonian University, for waste and recycling container company Taylor, on the potential of increasing recycling yields in high and low rise flats. The study surveyed residents of 1,000 North Lanarkshire flats following the introduction of a new communal recycling system and glass waste collection facilities. It found that the visual impact, positioning of recycling facilities and good communications with residents can have a significant impact on recycling levels in high and low rise flats, with location of recycling facilities being key to increased participation. (1 February 2010)

DEFRA: Recycle your batteries the easy way ...: information on new rules which mean that from 1 February 2010, any retailer who sells over 32kg of batteries per year (about one pack of 4 AAs a day) is required to provide a free recycling point for consumers to return their used / flat batteries. In practice, this means that most retailers who sell batteries will now have a collection point; making it easier for everyone to recycle. (3 February 2010)

Marks & Spencer: M&S announces pioneering local authority recycling partnerships: announces that M&S has entered into four partnerships with local authorities around the UK to significantly improve kerbside recycling, enabling councils to collect an additional 60,000 tonnes of recyclable material from six million people every year by 2015. The initiatives are part of its corporate social responsibility scheme "Plan A". (18 February 2010)

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Draft Waste (Wales) Measure: this draft Measure has been introduced into the Welsh Assembly. It makes provision to reduce the amount of waste and litter in Wales and so contribute to the development of more effective waste management arrangements in Wales. It sets statutory targets for Welsh local authorities for the percentage of municipal waste to be recycled, prepared for re-use and composted and makes local authorities liable to pay penalties in the event that they fail to meet these targets. It also gives the Welsh Minister powers to:

  • establish other statutory waste targets for local authorities;
  • prohibit or otherwise regulate the deposit of waste in a landfill;
  • establish Site Waste Management Plans; and
  • make regulations regarding single use carrier bags.

The Measure’s progress through the Assembly can be tracked on the Assembly website. (22 February 2010) 
This draft Measure follows the making of the National Assembly for Wales (Legislative Competence) (Environment) Order 2010 (SI 2010/248), in force 11 February 2010, which amends Field 6 of Sch.5 Part 1 to the Government of Wales Act 2006 so as to give the Welsh Assembly power to make laws relating to a number of specified environmental matters, including waste, disposal of waste at sea, pollution prevention and control, and environmental nuisance. (10 February 2010)

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Waste Collection

DEFRA: Publicly funded bodies and the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992: joint statement on the progress of DEFRA’s review of Sch.2 to the Controlled Waste Regulations 1992, which allows WCAs to charge for the collection of certain types of household waste.  It also includes waste from certain non-domestic premises (such as educational facilities, hospitals and prisons) whose waste is classified as ‘household waste’ by the EPA 1990. DEFRA is aware that facilities managers of some of the Sch.2 premises who currently use private waste contractors may be considering seeking local authority waste collections in order to benefit from ‘free’ disposal. This statement encourages all local authority customers and potential customers to be aware of the review, and to take into account the possibility of future changes to the Regulations when making their waste management decisions. Local authorities and publicly-funded Sch.2 organisations should take a pragmatic view and seek to achieve the best overall value for money for the taxpayer, which may well be achieved by the use of private waste contractors rather than the local authority. They should also continue to work towards reducing the waste they produce in order to reduce the burden on local authorities and on the environment. (16 February 2010) 

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Waste Management

Associate Parliamentary Sustainable Resource Group: Waste management infrastructure - incentivising community buy-in: sets out the findings of a research project that examined how to better secure community buy-in to the development of new infrastructure. It states that local communities need to be given a genuine stake in the development of new facilities, and realise tangible benefits as a product of this process. The report identifies innovative solutions that could serve to incentivise community buy-in to the development of new facilities and could be utilised at the community level to overcome planning objections to new waste infrastructure, illustrated with case studies of existing best practice. It makes recommendations as to how such incentive structures could be developed. (24 February 2010) 

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