This Update contains brief details of Government and EU publications, legislation, cases and other developments in England and Wales relevant to those interested in 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:

   Environmental Legislation    Planning
   Hazardous Waste    Recycling
   Health and Safety    Shipment of Waste
   Healthcare Waste    Waste Collection
   Litter and Fly-tipping    Waste Policy
   Permitting and Licensing  

Environmental Legislation

DEFRA: DEFRA better for business – A strategic reform plan for Defra’s regulations: this report outlines the progress made by DEFRA since the Red Tape Challenge was launched by the Prime Minister in April 2011. It provides an overview of actions being taken by DEFRA to reduce regulatory burdens on business and how it intends to take forward a cultural shift in the regulatory landscape. It is divided into themes: the Environment theme includes Waste and lists progress with proposals regarding reform of waste legislation (see pp.67-70). (10 April 2014) 

DEFRA: Defra’s legislation – Seeking views on Defralex: seeks views on a new prototype tool that allows users to search an index of DEFRA’s legislation that is currently in force. The closing date for comments is 14 May 2014. (10 April 2014)

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Hazardous Waste

Environment Agency: Premises notification for the Hazardous Waste Regulations: the Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005 were amended in 2009 so that all places where hazardous waste is produced, collected or removed from should be considered to be “premises”. Premises in England where, in any 12 month period, more than 500 kg of hazardous waste is produced, collected, or removed from, must be registered with the Environment Agency. This regulatory position statement allows certain places to be exempt from registration. (15 April 2014)

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Health and Safety

HSE: Health and safety law poster - frequently asked questions: sets out how employers can comply with their legal duty under the Health and Safety Information for Employees Regulations to display the approved poster in a prominent position in each workplace or to provide each worker with a copy of the approved leaflet that outlines British health and safety law. (April 2014)

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Healthcare Waste

Royal College of Nursing: The management of waste from health, social and personal care: guidance for health workers on classifying waste appropriately as part of their role. The guidance calls for a greater focus on the waste hierarchy and for more distinction to be made between different waste types. The RCN is highlighting the need to risk assess all waste rather than simply labelling it infectious. It also argues for strengthening staff training on waste management and suggests that all organisations should consider appointing a dedicated waste manager. (April 2014)

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Litter and Fly-tipping

Welsh Government; Over £1 million to help Keep Wales Tidy: annuonces £1,090,000 funding for Keep Wales Tidy to help improve the quality of the local environment and make Wales a better place to live. The funding will support the Tidy Towns project that helps communities improve their local area and tackle problems such as fly tipping, vandalism and littering. It will also enable the organisation to undertake research and develop materials to raise awareness of local environment issues. (28 March 2014)

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Permitting and Licensing

Environment Agency: Corporate Plan 2014 to 2016: sets out the Agency's priorities for the next three years. it states that it will use the additional funding that has been made available to continue its focus on tackling and reducing waste crime. It will also continue to seek ways of reducing the administrative costs of regulation on businesses, minimising bureaucracy, and speeding up decision making and the timely issuing of permits. Its priorities include contributing to meeting the Government’s obligations and targets arising from EU waste regulations, including Trans-frontier Shipments and the Waste Framework Directive, and in taking forward actions from its Waste Policy Review and the Waste Prevention Programme for England aimed at moving towards a ‘zero waste’ society. (28 April 2014)

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DCLG: Government response to the consultation on the review of the nationally significant infrastructure planning regime: sets out a summary of the responses received to the public discussion paper, together with the action the Government is intending to take on the following key areas: improving pre-application and examination; making changes to development consent orders post consent; streamlining consents; and actions for improving engagement with communities and local authorities. (25 April 2014)

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Environment Agency: Material recovery facilities charging: seeks views on proposals to introduce two new charging requirements relating to the monitoring of Materials Facilities, and the Agency's National Definition of Waste Panel. From October 2014 there will be mandatory sampling and reporting for qualifying material recovery facilities which sort 1,000 tonnes pa or more of mixed dry household or household-like waste material, to produce glass, metal, paper or plastic recyclate. The proposed charge (£2,240 pa) is to cover the additional regulatory costs of a planned annual inspection, an unannounced annual inspection and to take any follow up action with operators who need help with compliance. The second proposal relates to requests for advice from the Agency's Definition of Waste Panel, which provides consistent, expert advice on the definition of waste. It isproposing to introduce a £125 hourly charge for those that use this service, which will be capped at a maximum of £5,000. The consultation closes on 20 June 2014. (25 April 2014)

WRAP: Sorting materials – Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs): the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 require MRFs to routinely sample and compositionally test their mixed material inputs by individual supplier and their main outputs by material stream. WRAP has produced a collection of information on the changes, including good practice guidance, a flow chart regarding how the samples can be taken and tested, and an information summary sheet outlining the sampling process. (24 April 2014)

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Shipment of Waste

Transfrontier Shipment of Waste (Amendment) Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/861): these regulations, which come into force on 1 May 2014, amend SI 2007/1711 which enforces the EU Waste Shipments Regulation 1013/2006. They redefine the competent authorities and transfer certain competent authority responsibilities from the Secretary of State to the Environment Agency, SEPA and DoENI, and from the Secretary of State and Environment Agency to the Natural Resources Body for Wales. They also provide a power for HMRC to disclose certain information to competent authorities for enforcement purposes, allow Border Force to stop and detain waste for up to five working days in certain prescribed circumstances, and make changes to the fees for notification of waste shipments starting or finishing in Northern Ireland. (3 April 2014) 

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Waste Collection

WRAP: Commercial recycling collections guide – 2014 update: this guide outlines the key considerations when developing commercial recycling collection services from small to medium sized businesses. It has been written for local authorities, but the principles are applicable to all waste collectors. While it may be particularly useful for those who currently only collect commercial residual waste, it may also be useful to those who are looking to improve their commercial recycling services in terms of operational efficiency or expanding the service either through increased customer participation or variety of materials collected. (1 April 2014)

WRAP: Waste Regulations route map: this route map is intended to help local authorities that collect waste to understand their legal obligations under the Waste Regulations 2011. It focuses on reg.13, which concerns the separate collection of glass, metal, paper and plastic, but also explores closely related reg.12 requirements regarding the waste hierarchy. The route map: presents a step by step process for councils to follow as they assess whether their waste collection services are compliant with the requirement to separately collect certain materials; addresses some frequently asked questions about what the law requires; and signposts useful resources to help councils in their assessments. It is primarily concerned with household waste and similar commercial waste collected by or on behalf of local authorities, although the regulations apply to waste more generally. (1 April 2014)

Welsh Government: Guidance on draft statutory guidance on separate collection of waste paper, metal, plastic and glass: seeks views on draft guidance on setting up separate collections for at least four waste materials. These changes would bring arts.10 and 11(1) of the Revised Waste Framework Directive 2008/98 into law in Wales. The consultation closes on 21 July 2014. (28 April 2014)

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Waste Policy

HL European Union Committee: Counting the cost of food waste – EU food waste prevention: this report looks at a range of issues surrounding the food waste debate across Europe, focusing on the prevention and reduction of food waste. It urges action on the basis that food waste represents a financial and environmental loss of resources. The 15m tonnes of food wasted in the UK each year equates to a financial loss to business of at least £5bn pa. Environmentally, the carbon footprint of worldwide food waste is equivalent to twice the global greenhouse gas emission of all road transportation in the USA. It calls on the new European Commission to publish a five-year strategy on food waste prevention within six months of taking office. The report also calls for retailers, and in particular the big supermarkets who dominate food sales in the UK, to act more responsibly in limiting food waste by both farmers and consumers. It recommends that the Government encourage retailers to redistribute unsold food, where safe, for human and animal consumption rather than to be recycled via anaerobic digestion. It suggests that VAT rates could be amended and tax breaks offered to encourage supermarkets to donate edible unsold food to food banks rather sending it to be composted. (6 April 2014)

European Parliament: MEPs clamp down on wasteful use of plastic carrier bags: MEPs have voted to significantly strengthen a proposed draft Directive that aims to reduce plastic bag use and waste. The revised wording now includes obligatory European reduction targets and a requirement that plastic bags come at a cost. Member states would have to at least halve their consumption by 2017 and reduce it by 80% two years later, compared with 2010 figures. They should use measures such as taxes, levies, marketing restrictions or bans to stop shops from giving out plastic bags for free, except for very light ones, used to wrap loose foods such as raw meat, fish and dairy products. Plastic bags used to wrap foods such as fruit, vegetables and confectionery should be replaced by 2019 by carrier bags made of recycled paper or biodegradable and compostable bags. (16 April 2014)

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