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:

   Contaminated Land    Litter and Fly-tipping
   Environmental Information    Permitting and Licensing
   Finance     Recycling
   Health and Safety     Waste Minimisation
   Landfill    WEEE


Contaminated Land

Radioactive Contaminated Land (Enabling Powers and Modification of Enactments) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/2147): these regulations, which come into force on 29 and 30 September 2010, amend SI 2005/3467 and SI 2006/1379 by substituting a new definition of “substance” for the purposes of s.78A EPA 1990 that removes the exclusion for radon and its decay. (2 September 2010)

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Environmental Information

DEFRA: Getting started guidance - the UK implementation of INSPIRE: the European INSPIRE Directive 2007/2 requires that member states provide public access to location based data related to the environment according to specific technical standards. It is implemented in the UK by the INSPIRE Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/3157) that came into force on 31 December 2009. The legislation is relevant to local authorities both as producers, sharers and users of spatial data. This guidance explains how the INSPIRE Directive and UK regulations are being implemented in the UK through the design of the UK Location Information Infrastructure (UKLII). (6 September 2010)

LGA: The value of geospatial information: presents the findings of research that looked at  the value of geospatial information (GSI) in local public service delivery and as a public good. It found that GSI has contributed over £230m to efficiency gains in local public service delivery in 2008/09, and there are many excellent and innovative examples showing the benefits of GSI in local service delivery and citizen and business engagement. (6 September 2010)

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Aldersgate Group: Financing the future - a Green Investment Bank to power the economic recovery: the Aldersgate Group (AG), a group of big businesses, NGOs and cross-party MPs, has published a collection of articles written by leading commentators from finance and industry that put forward their views in regard to the scope, barriers and capitalisation for the Green Investment Bank. The Government is due to publish its policy proposals after the Comprehensive Spending Review in the Autumn. The report includes AG’s Green Investment Bank Position Statement which states that this institution can help tackle the significant financing barriers to deliver investment in the UK's energy infrastructure and can stimulate growth and jobs, especially in the regions. AG calls on the Government to set up a "strong, powerful and effective" bank without delay. (28 September 2010)

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Hazardous Substances

HSE: Majority of local authorities satisfy asbestos management rules in 'system build' schools: an HSE survey and inspection programme has found that, of the 152 councils in England that have responsibility for providing education, 110 satisfied the HSE that they have systems in place to meet their duties under the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. The other 42 authorities were visited by HSE inspectors to ensure that they were also managing the risks from asbestos, which resulted in 32 councils being given further advice about practical improvements and 10 authorities receiving enforcement notices to improve asbestos management standards. Another survey and inspection initiative will be undertaken between October 2010 and March 2011 to check compliance with the 2006 Regulations in those schools that fall outside local authority control. (21 September 2010)

HSE: Council fined after putting worker in asbestos danger: reports that Nuneaton Magistrates’ Court has fined Nuneaton and Bedworth BC £5,00 with £2,140 costs for breaching the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006. The court found that the council failed to warn a trained plumber that asbestos was present at a sheltered accommodation complex, despite possessing a survey detailing where it was. This failure resulted in him sawing through an asbestos insulation board without wearing protective clothing. (28 September 2010)

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Health and Safety

HSE: Local authorities reminded of their health and safety responsibilities ahead of waste and recycling inspection programme: reports that in October HSE inspectors are starting a three year review of the procurement and management of municipal waste and recycling services. This follows the introduction of guidance earlier this year on to make health and safety an integral part of the procurement and contract management process, whether local authorities deliver the services in-house or contract them out. (23 September 2010)

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Environment Agency: Report on the Landfill Allowances Scheme (LAS) Wales 2009-10: this report finds that the amount of biodegradable waste (such as paper, cardboard and kitchen scraps) sent to landfill in Wales decreased by 39 per cent in the four years to 2009–2010.  All 22 Welsh local authorities sent less biodegradable waste to landfill than their legal maximum. Since the launch of the scheme in 2005 every Welsh local authority has consistently met its landfill targets. (1 September 2010)

DEFRA: UK meets 2010 Landfill Directive target and responds to landfill consultations: the Government has announced that the latest data from the Environment Agency and the devolved administrations shows that the UK will meet the 2010 Landfill Diversion Target to reduce biodegradable municipal waste to landfill. (8 September 2010)
The Government has also published its responses to two landfill consultations on:

  • meeting EU landfill diversion targets: this consultation, aimed at local authorities and the waste management industry, addressed the changes necessary to enable the UK to report to the EC on a revised approach to the landfill diversion targets, including a new interpretation of the definition of municipal waste. The responses will inform further work, including consideration of the future of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) beyond 2013. Given this, local authorities may need to carefully consider whether they wish to enter into trading of LATS allowances after this time;
  • the introduction of restrictions on the landfilling of certain wastes: this looked at whether further restrictions on the landfilling of biodegradable and recyclable wastes would make an effective contribution to meeting the twin objectives of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing resource efficiency. It sought views on the case for introducing bans or restrictions on the landfilling of a number of substances. The Government has now stated that it will not introduce further landfill restrictions in England at this stage, but will consider how best to make progress towards the objective of zero waste to landfill as part of the Review of Waste Policies, due to conclude in Spring 2011.

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Litter and Fly-tipping

DEFRA: No room for complacency as councils prosecute more fly-tippers: summarises the statistics for fly-tipping in 2009-10, taken from the Fly-capture database. The figures show that local authorities across England brought nearly 2,500 prosecutions for fly-tipping in 2009-10, an increase of more than 20 per cent on the previous 12 months. The number of reported incidents decreased by 18.7 per cent compared to the previous year, but much of this drop is due to changes in the way figures are reported by a small number of local authorities. (8 September 2010)
DEFRA has also published the full fly-tipping statistics.

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Permitting and Licensing

Environment Agency: Standard rules for the Environmental Permitting Regulations – consultation no.5: seeks views on new and revised sets of standard rules and generic risk assessments for waste operations, water discharge activities, installations and a groundwater activity that will be available under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. The new rules sets concern waste operations. The consultation closes on 29 November 2010. (6 September 2010)

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Welsh Assembly Government: “Money in mattress” boost for Welsh councils: announces new funding from WAG that will give councils the opportunity to develop the facilities they need to be able to ‘harvest’ valuable materials from rubbish and sell them on to generate revenue. In addition, £1m has been committed to a social enterprise project to develop a plastics recycling facility that will be able to process a wide range of plastic products such as yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and food containers, saving up to £3.8m per year. (1 September 2010)

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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Environment Agency: First UK prosecution for WEEE producer: reports that hairdressing supplies wholesaler Aston and Fincher Ltd of Birmingham has been fined a total of £20,150 and also ordered to pay compensation of £7,135 to the Environment Agency for loss of registration fees, costs of £3,605.11 and a victim surcharge of £15 after it pleaded guilty to 31 charges relating to failure to comply with the Packaging Regulations and failing to register as a producer of electrical and electronic waste (WEEE). (3 September 2010)

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Waste Minimisation

Campaign for the Protection of Rural England: Have we got the bottle? Implementing a deposit refund scheme in the UK: this report by Eunomia for CPRE demonstrates that a drinks container deposit refund scheme would cost little to set up, and would generate revenue to support most of its own running costs. The research demonstrates how the scheme would help the Government achieve a Zero Waste economy by increasing recycling rates, and reducing litter. It highlights how such a scheme would reduce costs to the public sector by £160m per year (or £7 per household), whilst also securing significant benefits in reducing litter. (16 September 2010)

WRAP: One million tonnes of waste prevented through Courtauld success: reports that figures published by WRAP on the results of the first phase of the Courtauld Commitment, a responsibility deal between the UK grocery sector and WRAP and delivered in partnership with local authorities, show that the UK’s grocery sector has prevented 1.2m tonnes of food and packaging waste from entering the household waste stream over the last five years. (23 September 2010)

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