Waste Watch - April 2012

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 April 2012.


Nadeem Arshad

Nadeem Arshad


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
   Health and Safety    Recycling
   Infrastructure    Waste Management
   Permitting and Licensing    WEEE


Hazardous Substances

DBIS: Implementation of the Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) Directive 2011/65/EU: the RoHS Directive primarily aims to ensure that EU Member States apply common restrictions on the levels of six hazardous substances that may be present in a wide range of electrical and electronic equipment, as well as minimising the end of life environmental impact of that equipment. It is a single European market measure and implementation is made by one law covering the whole of the UK. The new RoHS Directive 2011/65 was published on 1 July 2011 and replaces the original Directive 2002/95. This new Directive has a different scope and obligations on those placing products on the market. This consultation seeks views on the implementation policy, draft Regulations and UK’s draft guidance notes. The consultation closes on 6 July 2012. (12 April 2012)

HSE: Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012: updated summary of changes following the coming into force of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/632) on 6 April 2012. (16 April 2012)

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Health and Safety

HSE: Proposals to remove fourteen legislative measures: seeks views on the Health and Safety Executive’s proposals to remove one Act, 12 Regulations and one Order (and a related provision in the Factories Act 1961) and to withdraw approval for an associated Code of Practice which HSE believes to be either redundant, overtaken by more up to date Regulations or do not deliver their expected benefits. The consultation closes on 4 July 2012. (3 April 2012) 

HSE: Local government FAQs: this web page helps illustrate the nature of some of the issues on which the HSE routinely gives advice, including responsibility for employees’ and contractors’ health and safety. (16 April 2012)

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DCLG: Planning Act 2008 - Consultation on proposed changes to the suite of guidance documents for the major infrastructure planning regime: seeks views on a light touch review of the suite of six guidance documents which underpin the Planning Act 2008. It outlines the context and aims of the consultation as well as the main changes proposed in each of the documents. It also lists the consultation questions for each document.
The draft revised guidance documents that are also out for consultation are:

The closing date for all the consultations is 6 July 2012. (13 April 2012)

HM Treasury: Infrastructure Cost Review - annual report 2011-12: this is the first annual progress report on the Infrastructure Cost Review Report 2010 that set out plans to reduce the cost of delivering infrastructure in the UK by £2bn to £3bn p.a. by 2015. This progress report confirms that the programme is on track to deliver these savings, with the first annual report having already identified projected savings of up to £1.5bn through changed behaviours and practice, consistent with the Cost Review principles. The Government’s focus for the next year of the programme will be to embed the behavioural changes and improved processes required to sustain these savings, with particular focus on the top 40 priority infrastructure projects and programmes identified in the National Infrastructure Plan 2011. (23 April 2012)

DBIS: Government makes landmark green investment: announces that DBIS’s UK Green Investments team is investing £80m with two specialist fund managers, Foresight Group and Greensphere Capital, who will make and manage investments in the small scale waste infrastructure sector such as waste recycling and reprocessing facilities, pre-treatment projects and energy-from-waste projects. All BIS investments made by the fund managers will be match-funded, leveraging in at least £80m more to the projects. (25 April 2012)

HM Treasury: Standardisation of PFI Contracts 4 - Addendum April 2012: Amended refinancing provisions: HM Treasury has issued a further amendment to the refinancing provisions of  SoPC4 in the light of the current state of the financing market. The changes are intended to address the potential for a "windfall" increase in distributions to equity should significant improvements in debt market pricing occur in the future. All PFI projects that have not yet reached financial close at 27 April 2012 must apply these revised provisions. (27 April 2012) 

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Permitting and Licensing

Environment Agency: Environmental Permitting Charging Scheme and guidance: guide to the EA’s charges under the Environmental Permitting Charging Scheme effective from 1 April 2012. It covers the different types of operations that require a permit under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 as well as various other charges, including carriers, brokers and dealers of waste, producer responsibility, IWS, waste exemptions and environmental permits. It explains the scheme and what charges an operator will have to pay. It is designed to help both charge payers and the EA’s own staff and should be read in conjunction with the scheme itself. (1 April 2012)

Environment Agency: Environmental Permitting Regulations - Operational Risk Appraisal Scheme (Opra for EPR): Operational risk appraisal (OPRA) is a way of assessing risk that helps the Agency: plan how to use its resources; report on how the activities it regulates are performing; and work out charges. This updated document gives an overview of the OPRA scheme from April 2012, introducing the OPRA attributes and explains how OPRA works and what operators can do if they are unhappy with their OPRA banded profile. It covers installations, waste operations, mining waste operations, non-nuclear Radioactive Substance Regulation, groundwater activities and mobile plant. (1 April 2012)

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European Commission: Proposal for a regulation establishing rules on the access of third-country goods and services to the European Union’s internal market in public procurement and procedures supporting negotiations on access of European Union goods and services to the public procurement markets of third countries (COM(2012) 124): sets out the Commission's proposal for a regulation which forms the fourth and final part of a broader package of procurement modernisation that was adopted in December 2011. The main objective of the initiative is to help open worldwide public procurement markets and to ensure that European businesses have fair access to them. It also aims to ensure that all companies (both European and non-European) are on an equal footing when it comes to competing for business in the EU's lucrative public procurement market. Key features are: 

  • contracting authorities would be able to exclude tenders which have more than 50% third country content. Only applies to contracts valued at €5m or more, and any exclusion must be approved by the Commission;  
    • the Commission would have powers to restrict access to EU market where third countries do not offer reciprocal access to their own markets, including:  excluding tenders which have more than 50% third country content; and/or  
    • imposing a mandatory price penalty [scale not defined] on the tender value of the third country content; and 
  • contracts awarded in breach of exclusion measures adopted by the Commission could be declared ineffective under the Remedies Directive.

Further details are set out in the Commission's External public procurement initiative - Frequently asked questions.
See also Cabinet Office: Procurement Policy Note 03/12 - European legislative proposal on Third Country Access to the EU Public Procurement Market: summarises the proposal and sets out the Government’s position. (21 March 2012)

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Environment Agency: Battery recycling efficiencies: the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009 require treatment operators to achieve certain recycling efficiencies for lead acid batteries, nickel cadmium batteries and other waste batteries no later than 26 September 2011, and to report them to the Agency by 31 May 2012. However, a draft new EC Regulation on recycling efficiencies is expected to apply from 1 January 2014 and will require all waste battery recyclers to submit their first annual reports no later than 30 April 2015. This Regulatory Position Statement sets out the Agency’s enforcement approach to treatment operators who are unable to provide evidence of recycling efficiencies being achieved before the new Regulation’s 2015 deadline. (1 April 2012)

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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

Environment Agency: Waste electrical and electronic equipment - A guide to when electrical and electronic equipment is considered waste and the controls that apply: guide for people who collect, keep or treat used electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) on when that equipment is classed as waste and what controls apply. (1 April 2012)

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Waste Management

Environment Agency: Summary of changes to waste exemptions: a waste exemption is a very specific type of low risk waste handling operation that does not require a permit. Most exemptions need to be registered. This document summarises changes to existing waste exemptions that came into force on 6 April 2012. (6 April 2012)

Welsh Government: Local Authority Municipal Waste Management, October-December 2011: this latest report on Welsh local authority municipal waste management shows that for the second successive quarter people have recycled almost half (49%) of their waste. The statistics also report that residual household waste has continued to fall. During October – December every person in Wales produced 54 kgs of waste, a drop of 5 kg per person from October – December 2010. (12 April 2012)

European Commission: Use of economic instruments and waste management performances: this report looks at how the best performing Member States have turned waste from a problem into a resource by combining economic instruments such as landfilling and incineration taxes and bans, producer responsibility schemes, and pay-as-you-throw. It concludes that If the EU is to meet the objectives set out in the Resource Efficiency Roadmap (zero landfilling, maximising recycling and reuse, and limiting energy recovery to non recyclable waste) then these economic instruments will need to be introduced more widely across all Member States. The results of the study will be taken into account by the EC to promote the use of economic instruments by the Member States particularly where the waste hierarchy is not applied enough. Another specific study on extended producer responsibility schemes will be launched in 2012, focusing on the best practices to ensure that cost efficient systems are set in place. (16 April 2012)

RICS: Waste and the built environment - A case study from the UK: this research report produced by Brook Lyndhurst for RICS examines issues around the impact of the built environment on the amount of waste produced and how it is managed. (18 April 2012)

European Environmental Bureau: Throwing away the chance to improve waste policy?: this report examines the transposition of the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98 and implementation of EU waste policy. An EC study has  assessed that a full implementation and enforcement of existing waste policy could lead to a 215Mt CO2 savings, the creation of 400,000 jobs and financial savings of up to €72bn; however, the transposition deadline is already behind schedule and a number of Member States have not yet properly fulfilled their legal obligations. This report aims to ignite dialogue between the NGO community, the EU institutions and stakeholders involved in waste management by exploring what could be the civil society  contribution to the implementation of waste policy. The project is intended also to serve as a barometer of the level of preparation to engage the new challenges and as an opportunity for an appraisal of NGO community participation so far. It intends to provide some legal and practical advocacy tools in order to reinforce civil society participation and as far as possible help to better implementation. (19 April 2012)

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