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 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:

   Hazardous Substances    Procurement
   Incineration    Recycling
   Judicial Review    Waste Collection
   Municipal Waste

Hazardous Substances

HSE: Asbestos management in schools outside of local authority control 2010/11: in 2010/11 HSE inspected a randomly selected sample of 164 schools outside of local authority control in England, Scotland and Wales as part of a coordinated inspection campaign to assess the level of compliance with the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006.  The sample group included Foundation, Voluntary Aided, Academies and schools from the Independent sector. This summary report contains the interim findings of the initiative; full findings will be published shortly. (14 October 2011)

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Cornwall Waste Forum St Dennis Branch v Secretary of State for Communities & Local Government [2011] EWHC 2761 (Admin) (Admin Ct): the court has granted an application to quash the SoS’s grant of planning permission to SITA for the construction of two energy-from-waste plants or incinerators on a site next to two Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). The court ruled that the SoS had been wrong to grant permission without conducting an assessment under the Habitats Directive 92/43 as implemented by the Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc) Regulations 1994 (now  the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010) and that the planning inspector had erred in relying on the Environment Agency’s grant of a pollution control permit as an indication that an appropriate assessment under the Regulations was unnecessary. (13 October 2011)
The judgment is available on Lawtel (password required).

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Judicial Review

MoJ: Cost protection for litigants in environmental judicial review claims - Outline proposals for a cost capping scheme for cases which fall within the Aarhus Convention: seeks views on proposals to codify the current case law on protective costs orders (PCOs) in relation to judicial review claims which fall under the UNECE 1998 Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the ‘Aarhus Convention’) and the Public Participation Directive 2003/35. PCOs are designed to set a pre-determined limit on a claimant’s exposure to a defendant’s costs. The consultation closes on 18 January 2012. (19 October 2011)

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Municipal Waste

Waste and Emissions Trading Act 2003 (Amendment) Regulations 2011 (SI 2011/2499): these regulations, which come into force on 21 November 2011, amend the Waste and Emissions Trading Act 2003 and the Landfill Allowances and Trading Scheme (England) Regulations 2004 to reflect a new interpretation of the term ‘municipal waste’. They introduce a new term for the category of waste that continues to be covered by the landfill allowance scheme, ‘local authority collected municipal waste’, in order to distinguish it from the broader term, ‘municipal waste’. The new term is needed to cover the municipal waste collected and dealt with by local authorities for the purposes of landfill allowances schemes to distinguish it from the waste covered by the broader term ’municipal waste’. The change follows European Commission concerns that the UK’s existing approach was focused too narrowly on waste collected by local authorities; that it focused on too small a subset of the totality of waste produced and that the environmental objectives of the Landfill Directive 1999/31 to reduce the negative effects of landfilling were better addressed by a broader interpretation of the definition. The UK has now changed its interpretation to include more commercial waste collected by the private sector. This changed interpretation substantially increases the amount of biodegradable municipal waste (BMW) that is subject to the diversion targets under the Directive, as a much larger proportion of commercial and industrial waste is now included within the definition. Whereas previously “municipal waste” only applied to waste managed by local authorities it will now extend to cover waste managed by private sector waste management companies. (17 October 2011)

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European Commission: Commission Staff Working Paper concerning the application of EU public procurement law to relations between contracting authorities ('public-public cooperation') (SEC(2011)1169): this paper aims to provide a broad overview of existing ECJ case law concerning the application of the Public Procurement Directives to various types of situations where contracting authorities together seek to ensure the performance of their public tasks. The court has confirmed that contracts between contracting authorities cannot be automatically presumed to fall outside the application of EU public procurement law; however, the case law also shows that certain forms of cooperation between contracting authorities cannot be regarded as public procurement contracts. The paper consolidates and summarises this case law, and draws some conclusions from it. It highlights the need to distinguish  between procurement activities which should benefit from open competition among economic operators as ensured by the EU procurement rules, and other arrangements which contracting authorities may use to ensure the performance of their public tasks and which do not fall within the scope of the EU Public Procurement Directives. (4 October 2011)

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WRAP: Business recycling and waste services commitment: WRAP & DEFRA have launched a recycling charter to help boost recycling rates and tackle the issues smaller businesses face in getting access to waste services. The document aims to help local authorities improve the satisfaction of their business customers with how their rubbish and recycling is collected and ultimately boost recycling rates. The voluntary commitment sets out 12 principles of best practice that local authorities can use to tailor services to local businesses such as the need to make recycling easy, provide value for money and continually improve services through feedback. (19 October 2011)

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Waste Collection

WRAP: Adapting waste and recycling collection systems to the changing climate: this guide on preparing waste and recycling collection services for the impacts of climate change outlines the expected changes to the UK climate over the century, suggests approaches to assessing potential impacts and developing responses, and considers some of the short and longer term implications for the delivery of waste collection and recycling services. (25 October 2011)

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