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    Municipal Waste
   Enforcement    Permitting and Licensing
   Health and Safety    Waste Collection


Energy from Waste

DECC: Renewable Heat Incentive – Expanding the non-domestic scheme: seeks views on seeks views on plans to expand the current non-domestic RHI scheme, including proposals for new or different support for technologies such as air source heat pumps, combined heat and power, large scale biogas combustion and deep geothermal. The consultation closes on 7 December 2012. (20 September 2012)

DECC: Renewable Heat Incentive – Air to Water heat pumps & Energy from Waste: seeks views on plans to expand the current non-domestic RHI scheme to include Air to Water heat pumps and broaden the eligibility criteria for Energy from Waste. The consultation closes on 18 October 2012. (20 September 2012)
Bevan Brittan's Waste & Energy team have issued an Alert Renewable Heat Incentive - Energy from Waste consultation that details how these proposals may benefit EfW plants. 

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Environment Agency:  Cracking down on waste crime - Waste crime report 2011-2012: this is the Agency’s first evidence-based report on waste crime. It sets out the problem and extent of waste crime, how the Agency is tackling waste crime and its progress over the past year, its priorities for the coming year and some of the specific challenges that it is looking to address. The report shows that shows that in 2011/12:

  • 16 people were imprisoned for major waste crimes, including running large-scale illegal waste sites and industrial-scale dumping;
  • more than 750 large-scale illegal waste sites were shut down;
  • the courts issued £1.7m in fines for serious waste offences – nearly £800,000 more than the previous year – with the highest single fine being £170,000; and
  • the courts also ordered a total £2.2m-worth of assets to be confiscated from criminals who had made money through illegal waste activity.

(3 September 2012)

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Health and Safety

DBIS: Red tape blitz to boost business growth: announces that the Government intends to introduce binding new rules on both the HSE and on local authorities that will exempt many businesses from health and safety inspections from April 2013.  In future, businesses will only be inspected if they are operating in high risk areas, such as construction, or if they have a poor record. Also, the Government will introduce legislation next month to ensure that businesses will only be held liable for civil damages in health and safety cases if they can be shown to have acted negligently. This will end the current situation where businesses can automatically be liable for damages even if they were not actually negligent. (10 September 2012)

HSE: HSE warning over waste and recycling summer death toll: warning to the waste and recycling industry to improve worker safety, following a spate of deaths over the summer. Nine lives were lost in separate incidents in just 12 weeks between June 2012 and September 2012, with half of the deaths occurring in skip hire and waste transfer premises. (11 September 2012)

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Municipal Waste

Controlled Waste (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/2320): these regulations, which come into force on 9 October 2012, amend SI 2012/811 in order to correct an error, to ensure that th principal regulations clearly give effect to the policy exemption for certain small businesses’ liability to pay disposal charges for waste. (12 September 2012)

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Permitting and Licensing

R (European Metal Recycling Ltd) v Environment Agency [2012] EWHC 2361 (Admin) (Admin Ct): EMR, operators of a metal waste disposal and reclamation yard, applied to quash a suspension notice that had been issued by the Agency under reg.37 of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010 following complaints from local residents about noise on the site. The Agency concluded that that EMR's activities involved a risk of serious pollution by noise and served it with a suspension notice which stated that EMR had to design and implement measures that eliminated the risk of serious pollution by noise by a specified date. EMR challenged the notice, contending that it did not comply with reg.37(4)(a) as it failed to specify what, if any, steps were required to be taken, failed to provide defined threshold criteria or objectives that had to be satisfied by EMR if it was to comply with the notice, and was otherwise vague and imprecise.
The court held, granting EMR’s application, that reg.37(4)(a) imposed on the Agency a mandatory requirement to specify what steps had to be taken in order to remove the risk that triggered the service of the notice. It was obvious as a matter of language that a requirement to state explicitly the steps that must be taken to remove an identified risk was not satisfied by a statement requiring the recipient to take steps to remove the identified risk, nor was a requirement to design and implement measures to eliminate the risk any more compliant. To be compliant with reg.37(4)(a)(ii), the notice had to identify either outcomes or criteria that have to be achieved by whatever means EMR choose to adopt, and/or specific steps that were required to be taken. The requirement could have been satisfied by specifying an outcome or outcomes rather than by reference to steps in the sense of specifying works to be undertaken at the site if that was considered to be a more appropriate way in which to proceed. However, what it was not entitled to do was to require the elimination of a risk of serious pollution without identifying the steps by which that was to be achieved. (31 August 2012)

Environment Agency: Consultation on Environment Agency charges from 2013: seeks views on technical changes to the Agency’s three year charging scheme, to take into account a number of small but necessary changes arising from new and emerging legislation for the Industrial Emissions Directive 2010/75 and Phase III of the EU Emissions Trading System. The consultation closes on 9 November 2012. (13 September 2012)

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Waste Collection

WRAP: Textile collection guide: this guide is designed to help local authorities and textiles collectors (such as charities, waste management companies and textile merchants) increase textile re-use and recycling and reduce the amount of textiles being disposed of in residual waste. It provides practical advice and examples of existing good practice for kerbside textile collection services, bring banks (where members of the public can bring item for re-use and recycling), and community re-use initiatives. It also offers advice on how to communicate textile re-use and recycling services to the public. (11 September 2012)

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