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:

   Energy from Waste    Permitting and Licensing
   Enforcement    Recycling
   Environmental Reporting    State Aid
   Health and Safety    Waste EEE
   Investment    Waste Management


Energy from Waste

DECC: Renewables Obligation NNFCC assessment: energy from waste - efficiency based measurement: this briefing paper, produced by bio-economy consultants NNFCC, discusses the potential for introducing an efficiency based measurement to categorise advanced Energy from Waste (EfW) processes. (25 July 2012)

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HSE: Firm fined after worker injured at waste site: an environmental waste company has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £4,306 by Stafford Magistrates' Court after pleading guilty to breaching s.2(1) HSWA 1974 by failing to ensure the safety of employees. The prosecution arose when a skid steer loader reversed into an employee at the company's premises, pinning him against a skip. An HSE investigation found that the vehicle was being used in a relatively confined space and no measures were in place to segregate vehicles and pedestrians. It also revealed the company had failed to carry out a risk assessment of its workplace transport activities. (15 August 2012)

Environment Agency: Vital Earth fined £75,000 over waste offences: a composting firm has been fined £75,000 and ordered to pay £13,535.26 costs, along with a £15 victim surcharge, by Derby Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to three charges of depositing controlled waste on land without a permit, contrary to s.33(1)(a) & (6) EPA 1990. The offences arose after the firm supplied a farmer with compost that was found to contain a high level of plastic contamination, including items such as kitchen knives, bottle tops and cigarette lighters. A formal sampling process showed that the compost had an average contaminant level between six and ten times the permitted limit, and should actually have been classified as waste. (23 August 2012)

Environment Agency: Recyclet Directors given 200 hours of unpaid work for waste offences: Scunthorpe Magistrates’ Court has ordered three directors of a waste recycling company to do 200 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £4,468, and has disqualified them from being a director of a company for five years, after they pleaded guilty to director liability offences under the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010. The charges related to their company (now in liquidation) which operated a regulated waste facility without an environmental permit. (24 August 2012)

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Environmental Reporting

DEFRA: Consultation on guidance for business on environmental Key Performance Indicators: seeks views on revised voluntary guidance for how UK organisations should measure and report on their environmental impacts. The revised guidance advises companies on how to measure and report on their environmental performance using environmental Key Performance Indicators (KPIs);  it also helps determine which KPIs are most relevant to an organisation and sets out the rationale for managing environmental performance using KPIs.  The guidance is additional to the existing guidance on how to measure and report on greenhouse gas emissions. The consultation closes on 17 October 2012. (25 July 2012)

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Health and Safety

HSE: Council fined after pensioner killed by reversing bin lorry: Bassetlaw DC has been fined £25,000 and ordered to pay costs of £12,987 by Nottingham Crown Court after pleading guilty to breaches of s.3(1) HSWA 1974. The prosecution arose after a 76 year old man on a mobility scooter died after he was struck by a waste collection lorry. The court was told that the vehicle only had a one-man crew and the incident could have been prevented had there been a reversing assistant at the back of the vehicle. (3 July 2012)

HSE: Supervisor and team leader competence in roadside waste and recycling collection activities: the HSE has commissioned the Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) to work in partnership with the waste and recycling industry to research  supervisors’ and team leaders’ competence in managing the health and safety of waste collection crews and drivers. It is seeking volunteers in waste collection organisations to assist with this research, either by providing sample of job descriptions and the training matrix for supervisors and team leaders, or by enabling HSL to interview a sample of managers and hold discussion groups at the organisation. The closing date for expressions of interest is 31 August 2012. (25 July 2012)

HSE: Public consultation on proposals to simplify and clarify RIDDOR reporting requirements: seeks views on proposals to simplify and clarify how businesses comply with the requirements under the Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (SI 1995/3163) (RIDDOR 95), following recommendations made in Professor Löfstedt’s independent review of health and safety legislation. The proposals also seek to implement the changes recommended in the report ‘Common Sense, Common Safety’ (2010) by re-examining whether RIDDOR is the best approach to providing an accurate national picture of workplace accidents. The consultation closes on 28 October 2012. (2 August 2012)

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DBIS: Government announces £100 million fund for green investment and welcomes new jobs: this press release includes an announcement a £12m expansion of Closed Loop Recycling's Dagenham plant, the world's first food-grade plastic bottle recycling plant to handle both PET and HDPE bottles. It also announces new investment in solar technology, and £100m funding to specialist fund managers Equitix and Sustainable Development Capital, to enable them to actively encouraging foreign and domestic investment in non-domestic energy efficiency projects, alongside UK Government funds. (6 August 2012)

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Environment Agency: Changes to landfill permit conditions to protect groundwater: sets out changes made to the frequency of the Agency’s reviews of the risk assessments that protect groundwater from pollution from landfill sites. Landfill permits issued or reviewed before April 2011, with a condition requiring four-yearly hydro-geological risk assessment (HRA) reviews, may now have the HRA review postponed for up to two years. (20 August 2012)

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Permitting and Licensing

Environment Agency: How to comply with your environmental permit: this updated guidance explains the conditions or rules of environmental permits. It describes the standards and measures that must be used to control the most common risks of pollution and how businesses should comply with the conditions of their permit. (30 August 2012)

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DEFRA: Household Reward and Recognition Scheme: announces the 15 successful applicants that will receive a share of £539,501 to introduce or trial new schemes that reward or recognise people or communities for recycling or re-using their waste. Rewards could include financial rewards, e.g. vouchers, donations to charities, cash or discounts on goods and services, while recognition could include personalised feedback about how much a household has recycled or a letter about how donating an item for reuse has helped the local community. (22 August 2012)

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State Aid

European Commission: Consultation on the Community Guidelines on State aid for environmental protection and environmental support measures in the General Block Exemption Regulation: the Commission plans to revise and streamline the main Commission acts and guidelines on state aid by the end of 2013. The Community guidelines on state aid control in the field of environmental protection aim to ensure that state aid measures result in a higher level of environmental protection than would occur without the aid, and to ensure that the positive effects of the aid outweigh its negative effects in terms of distortions of competition, taking into account the polluter pays principle established by Art.191 TFEU. This consultation seeks information on the application of the guidelines and on environmental support measures in the General Block Exemption Regulation 800/2008. The consultation closes on 23 October 2012. (31 July 2012)

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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

WRAP: WEEE recovery in the UK - The current situation and the road ahead: summarises key findings from recent research into waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) disposal and processing in the UK. WRAP has carried out a range of research to look at the potential to maximise the recovery of material from WEEE. It is also looking at opportunities to advance the sector in the recovery of critical raw materials. This paper looks at the research carried out and the potential opportunities available to the sector to build upon. (29 August 2012)

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Waste Management

DEFRA: Guidance on the legal definition of waste and its application: detailed guidance for businesses and other organisations which take decisions on a day-to-day basis about whether something is or is not waste. It aims to help operators make the decision as to whether a material is waste or not in the more difficult cases, e.g. where the substance or object has a value or a potential use or where the decision is about whether waste has been fully recovered or recycled and has therefore ceased to be waste. It provides a legal analysis of Art.3(1) of the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98, which defines "waste" as: "…any substance or object which the holder discards or intends or is required to discard…". The guidance is aimed at waste operators with good knowledge and understanding of waste management system in the UK as well as anyone who needs to gain a more thorough understanding of the definition of waste. It is in three parts: 

  • Part 1: background to and the rationale for the draft guidance; 
  • Part 2: an introduction to the Definition of Waste for those with a less technical background on the subject; and 
  • Part 3: detailed guidance on the case law on the definition of waste, for those with a specialist interest in the issue and who need to assess whether they are subject to waste management controls.

There is also a separate Practical guide for businesses on the legal definition of Waste. (20 August 2012)

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