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:

   Enforcement    Sustainable Development
   Health and Safety    Waste Collection
   Permitting and Licensing    Waste Management
   Recycling    Waste Minimisation


Scrap Metal Dealers Bill: this Private Member’s Bill has been introduced into Parliament by Richard Ottaway MP and received its 1st Reading in the Commons. The Bill proposes to overhaul the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964 by giving greater powers to local councils to vet licence applicants, charge fees and remove licences. Dealers would be required to keep more detailed records of transactions and demand photo ID from sellers. (20 June 2012)

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Health and Safety

Health and Safety (Miscellaneous Revocations) Regulations 2012 (SI 2102/1537): these regulations, which come into force on 1 October 2012, revoke seven SIs relating to health and safety provisions that are either redundant or have been superseded by more up to date regulations. (13 June 2012)

HSE: Hand sorting of recyclables (‘totting’) with vehicle assistance: guidance for employers, managers and supervisors on removing waste or recyclables through sorting by hand picking from the floor activities or ‘totting’. It aims to prevent accidents and ill health to people who work in waste and recycling facilities. It includes advice about how to assess hazards and provides solutions that will help to eliminate or reduce the risk of serious injury or ill health. (14 June 2012)

Health and Safety (Fees) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/1652): these fees regulations, which come into force on 1 October 2012, revoke and replace SI 2010/579. They reproduce almost all of the charges set out in the 2010 Regulations and introduce two new charges. These fees are made for the performance, mainly by the HSE of a wide range of statutory functions. (28 June 2012)

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Permitting and Licensing

Environment Agency: Additional guidance for trials for the recovery to land for agricultural benefit of compost-like outputs from the treatment of mixed municipal solid wastes: the Agency is in general against the use on agricultural land of compost-like outputs (CLO) and other mixed source biowaste outputs from the treatment of mixed municipal solid wastes. However, it  is prepared to consider applications for permits to carry out trials of particular CLOs from particular treatment plant, provided that the proposed trials are designed to meet the limitations, technical standards and measures set out in this guidance. (11 June 2012)

Environment Agency: Standard Rules for the Environmental Permitting Regulations – Consultation No.8: seeks views on some new and revised sets of standard rules and generic risk assessments in relation to activities that will become installations under the Industrial Emissions Directive and also to some activities that are waste operations and water discharges.  The consultation closes on 4 September 2012. (12 June 2012)

Environment Agency: Updates to standard rules and generic risk assessments: in July 2011 the Agency ran a consultation on proposals to change a number of standard permits rules. It has now announced the changes that will be made to various waste operations standard rules following that consultation. (25 June 2012)

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Commission Regulation 493/2012 laying down detailed rules regarding the calculation of recycling efficiencies of the recycling processes of waste batteries and accumulators: this EU Regulation, which comes into force on 12 June 2012 in all Member States, sets out detailed rules for calculating recycling efficiencies under the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Directive 2006/66. (12 June 2012)

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Sustainable Development

United National Conference on Sustainable Development: Rio+20 – The future we want: this sustainable development summit brought together governments, international institutions and major groups to agree on a range of smart measures that can reduce poverty while promoting decent jobs, clean energy and a more sustainable and fair use of resources. It follows 20 years after the original 1992 UN Earth Summit on Environment and Development, also held in Rio, which gave rise to many of the policy measures that underpin global environmental co-operation today. The two main themes for Rio+20 were: green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication; and the institutional framework for sustainable development. They highlighted seven areas which need priority attention: decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans and disaster readiness. The summit ended with world leaders adopting a political declaration that states that nations will spend three years drawing up sustainable development goals and will also work towards better protection for marine life on the high seas. However, moves to eliminate subsidies on fossil fuels came to naught and plans to enshrine the right of poor people to have clean water, adequate food and modern forms of energy also foundered or were seriously weakened.
Key points for the UK are: 

  • agreement to establish Sustainable Development Goals: the UN General Assembly will appoint a group of representatives from 30 countries by September to develop the goals, which will focus on food, water and energy; 
  • recognition of the importance of the green economy as a way to help nations to grow sustainably, and to help eradicate poverty; 
  • a call from all nations at Rio+20 for businesses to adopt ways of reporting on their sustainability performance; 
  • recognition by all nations at Rio+20 of the importance of including the value of natural capital and social wellbeing into decision making will be given real force by having a UN commission undertake the work on GDP plus; 
  • oceans to be given greater prominence with a commitment to extend marine conservation to on the high seas;  
  • a call for enhanced efforts to sustainably manage forests.

See also DEFRA's webpage and the UNCSD outcome document The future we want. (20 June 2012)

LGA: Councils sign up to cut energy costs and protect homes, schools, parks and roads: announces that the LGA is launching a new drive which will see councils committing to their own local actions to reduce carbon emissions and improve their ability to protect people and services from the anticipated changes in the weather. The Climate Change Commitment will build on the success of the Nottingham Declaration to provide a more flexible way for local authorities to share ideas, actions and achievements which reflect local priorities, risks and opportunities. (28 June 2012)

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Waste Collection

DEFRA: Hefty bin fines cut: outlines the effect of new rules that reduce the maximum fines under the current fixed penalty notice system that councils can give out to householders for overfilling their bin or accidentally putting their rubbish out an hour too early (see SI 2012/1151). These fines have been reduced from £75-110 to £60-80, with a discounted rate of £40 for early payment. SI 2012/1150 provides that if councils do not specify the amount of the fixed penalty notices, a default of £60 will apply. This press release also reports that DEFRA is currently considering the responses to its consultation on proposals to remove the criminal sanctions in s.46 EPA 1990, leaving only civil sanctions available, and to introduce a “harm to local amenity” test. These changes will be taken forward when parliamentary time allows. (30 May 2012)

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Waste Management

WRAP: New business support aims to drive green growth by preventing waste and increasing re-use: announces the launch of a new fund that aims to increase waste prevention and capacity for re-use and repair. The Waste Prevention Loan Fund offers loans of between £100,000 and £1m to help innovative businesses set up new business models where their traditional sources of finance may not see the commercial case. Creative business solutions to waste issues are welcomed but concepts must be proven and only require finance to scale up to a commercial level. Any material stream is eligible for application. (12 June 2012)

European Commission: Guidance on the interpretation of key provisions of Directive 2008/98/EC on waste: the revised Waste Framework Directive 2008/98 (WFD) applies from 12 December 2010 and introduces new provisions in order to boost waste prevention and recycling as part of the waste hierarchy and clarifies key concepts, namely the definitions of waste, recovery and disposal, and lays down the appropriate procedures applicable to by-products and to waste that ceases to be waste. Since the date of application of the WFD, many questions regarding its interpretation and application have been raised by national authorities and stakeholders. This non-binding guidance is intended to assist both national authorities and economic operators with understanding the application of the WFD. (20 June 2012)

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Waste Minimisation

WRAP: Helping consumers reduce food waste – A retail survey 2011: summarises the findings from a survey across UK retailers, and a selection of food products, of a range of factors believed to influence household food waste, such as pack size, price, functionality, labelling and point of sale communications. It demonstrates that the food industry is making good progress towards making it easier for customers to get the best from the food they buy – and reduce the 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink that’s wasted every year. (12 June 2012)

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