This Update 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 inJuly 2011.
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||Permitting and Licensing|
|Hazardous Waste||Waste Management|
Environment Agency: New powers improve environmental
investment: reports that the Agency has used the new civil
sanctions available under the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions
Act 2008 as an alternative to criminal prosecution. It has accepted
an offer of £21,000 from Invensys Plc for packaging waste offences.
The sanction relates to self-reported offences that occurred
between 1998-2010 where the group and some of its subsidiaries had
not been properly registered under the Packaging Waste Regulations
as they had incorrectly considered their obligations as separate
companies, not as part of a group. The company states that it will
fund “environment improvements and community benefits” equivalent
to the cost of the offences committed - including a local authority
led community recycling initiative. It will also cover the Agency’s
costs of its investigation and future monitoring. (22 July
HC Environmental Audit Committee: Budget 2011 and environmental taxes: this report scrutinises the Government’s strategy for environmental taxation. It states that HM Treasury has undermined public trust in green taxes by appearing to use them as a revenue raising tool rather than a serious attempt to change environmentally damaging behaviour. In particular, it criticises two recent tax changes: cutting a penny off Fuel Duty while providing no new incentives to switch to lower carbon alternatives; and the proposed changes to Air Passenger Duty that will do nothing to reduce emissions or make it a more effective environmental tax. The Committee calls on the Treasury to adopt a coherent strategy that sets out its objectives and rationale, the basis on which rates are set, and how their impact will be evaluated. It also finds that the Plan for Growth, published alongside the Budget, does not provide the much needed step-change to aid the transition to a low-carbon economy, and it calls on the Government to demonstrate greater commitment to putting the green economy at the heart of its growth plans. (7 July 2011)
DEFRA: The future of the Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances: seeks views on the proposed abolition of the Advisory Committee on Hazardous Substances (ACHS) as a statutory NDPB, as provided for under the Public Bodies Bill currently before Parliament, and the Government’s preferred option to reconstitute this body as a new expert scientific committee. It also discusses the proposed new Terms of Reference and the name for the successor body. The consultation closes on 14 October 2011. (7 July 2011)
DEFRA: Hazardous waste consultation: seeks views on the draft Hazardous Waste National Policy Statement (NPS) that builds on the 2010 Strategy for Hazardous Waste Management in England. The NPS establishes criteria to be used by applicants in applying for development consent and by decision makers in considering these applications. The consultation closes on 20 October 2011. (14 July 2011)
Eurostat: Generation and treatment of municipal waste: statistics on the development of municipal waste generation and treatment from 1995 to 2009. They include an analysis of the evidence on decoupling, i.e. breaking the link between the production of material wealth and the production of waste. The figures show that municipal waste generation in Europe has slowed down and stabilised at about 520 kg per capita since 2002. (6 July 2011)
Environment Agency: Regulating trials of waste management operations: this Regulatory Position Statement position statement clarifies the Agency’s position on the need for environmental permits for waste trials. (11 July 2011)
Resource Recovery Solutions (Derbyshire) Ltd v Secretary
of State for Communities & Local Government and Derby City Council
 EWHC 1726 (Admin) (Admin Ct): RRS applied to quash the
SoS’s refusal of planning permission for a waste treatment facility
on a site in Derby comprising disused land. An inquiry was held
after the local authority refused permission. While that was
ongoing, the local authority purported to revoke the regional
spatial strategy (RSS); however, that revocation was held to be
unlawful in R (Cala Homes (South) Ltd) v Secretary of State for
Communities and Local Government  EWHC 2866 (Admin). The
inquiry proceeded on the basis that the RSS was not part of the
development plan, but the SoS’s decision was taken when the
position had been clarified by the court, namely the RSS was part
of the development plan. The inspector dismissed the appeal. Her
decision letter did not mention the RSS or whether the proposal
complied with the development plan. RRS contended that the
inspector failed to take into account the RSS or failed to refer
the need to consider the strategy back to the parties following the
decision in Cala Homes.
The court held, granting the application, that following the decision in Cala Homes and pursuant to the PINS guidance, the Inspector should have referred the matter back to the parties. The scale of the proposal was such as to be relevant to, and address the waste management needs of, an entire sub-region and was more than merely of local importance. The parties had made reference to the RSS at earlier stages prior to its abolition but had not made reference to it at the inquiry as it was understood to have been revoked. The inspector should have sought the parties' views on the materiality and weight to be given to the RSS. Given the content of, and supporting evidence contained in, the RSS it was impossible to say that the SoS would have reached the same decision had the inspector properly performed her duties. (5 July 2011)
DEFRA: Guidance on applying the Waste Hierarchy: Art. 4 of the revised Waste Framework Directive 2008/98 sets out five steps for dealing with waste, ranked according to environmental impact, that are known as the Waste Hierarchy. The Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 implement the Waste Hierarchy in the UK. This guidance for all businesses and public bodies which generate, handle or treat waste sets out:
(15 June 2011)
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The Fish Legal case has finally been concluded, with the Upper Tribunal ruling that the four water companies involved are indeed...