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:

   Biodegradable Waste    Waste Collection
   Clinical Waste    Waste Management
   Energy from Waste    Waste Minimisation 
   Enforcement    Waste Policy
   Hazardous Substances    WEEE

Biodegradable Waste

European Commission: End-of-waste criteria for biodegradable waste subjected to biological treatment (compost & digestate) – Technical proposals: sets out the EC JRC-IPTS contribution to the development of the end-of-waste criteria for biodegradable waste subject to biological treatment (compost/digestate) in accordance with Art.6 of the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98. It includes a possible set of end-of-waste criteria and shows how the proposals were developed based on a comprehensive techno-economic analysis of the biodegradable waste derived compost/digestate production chain and an analysis of the economic, environmental and legal impacts when such compost/digestate ceases to be waste. The purpose of end-of-waste criteria is to avoid confusion about the waste definition and to clarify when certain waste that has undergone recovery ceases to be waste. (8 January 2014)

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Clinical Waste

Environment Agency: Standard Rules Consultation No.9 – Clinical waste treatment: seeks views on proposed new rules and risk assessment under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 for small scale clinical waste treatment units. The consultation closes on 11 April 2014. (17 January 2014)

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Energy from Waste

DECC: £2m awarded for local authority low carbon heat networks: announces the 26 local authorities across England and Wales that have been awarded a share of over £1.9m to support the development of heat network projects,using a range of low carbon technologies such as energy from waste or heat taken from landfill, through the Government’s Heat Networks Delivery Unit. (30 January 2014)
See Bevan Brittan's alert: Heat networks and district heating – DECC funding to help local authorities develop new projects.

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Environment Agency: Enforcement and sanctions guidance: sets out how the Agency makesenforcement decisions, the types of tools available to it and associated processes. it includes its variable monetary penalty methodology and information on enforcement undertakings. (7 January 2014)

Environment Agency: Enforcement and sanctions statement: explains the Agency's position on enforcement. It supersedes the Enforcement and Prosecution Policy, issued July 2008, to include the application of civil sanctions and an outcome-focused approach to enforcement. (7 January 2014)

Deregulation Bill: this Bill has been introduced into the Commons and received its 1st Reading. The Bill proposes a range of measures in line with the Government’s aim to reduce burdens on businesses and public authorities. Its provisions include:

  • replacing the current criminal sanctions under s.46 EPA 1990 for non-compliance with local authority requirements for collection of household waste, with a new fixed penalty scheme;
  • imposing a statutory duty on specified non-economic regulators to "have regard to the desirability of promoting economic growth"; and
  • repealing Part 11 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 that enables the Secretary of State to create Joint Waste Authorities at the request of the relevant local authorities.

(23 January 2014)
See also the Commons Library Research Paper that examines the provisions in the Bill.

Environment Agency: Custodial sentence and £330,000 penalty for illegal waste operations: Sheffield Crown Court has sentenced a man to 9 months' imprisonment for breaches of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010. It also ordered him to pay £250,000.00 in confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, plus £80,000.00 costs and a £120.00 victim surcharge. The charges relate to the storage and processing of waste wood at four sites in Mansfield and Sheffield witohout an environmental permit. (8 January 2014)

Environment Agency: Tough penalties for illegal waste activities: Wolverhampton Crown Court has sentenced two men to a total of 24 months' imprisonment for offences under the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990 relating to illegal waste activities. The men have also each been disqualified from being a director for 7 years and their skip hire company has been fined £100,000. (14 January 2014)

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Hazardous Substances

HSE: Managing and working with asbestos – Control of Asbestos Regulations 2012: Approved Code of Practice and guidance: Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and guidance text for employers about work which disturbs, or is likely to disturb, asbestos, asbestos sampling and laboratory analysis. The 2012 Regulations give minimum standards for protecting employees from risks associated with exposure to asbestos. They contain new requirements for certain types of non-licensable work with asbestos on: notification of work; designating areas where you are working on asbestos; medical surveillance and record keeping. The ACOP and guidance give practical advice on how to comply with those requirements. (20 December 2013)

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New Procurement Directives: summary available following European Parliament vote: the European Parliament has voted to adopt three new Directives that replace the existing Public Sector and Utilities Directives and introducing a new Directive covering the procurement of works concessions and service concessions. It is likely that the Directives will come into effect in March 2014, following formal signature and publication requirements. Member States will have 24 months to implement the Directives but it is likely that implementation will happen sooner in the UK. (15 January 2014)
Bevan Brittan has produced a summary of the Procurement Directives as adopted following the vote.

Cabinet Office: The Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012 – 1 year on: this paper reviews the implementation of the 2012 Act, which requires public sector agencies, when commissioning a public service, to consider how the service they are procuring could bring added economic, environmental and social benefits. Commissioners also have to consider whether they should consult on these issues (for instance with potential users or suppliers of the service in question). The paper outlines how commissioners have responded to the Act during its first year, and looks at the Government’s plans to advance social value in the future. (31 January 2014)

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Waste Collection

DCLG: Guidance on weekly rubbish collections – Delivering a frequent, comprehensive service: this guidance sets out DCLG's opinion on how local authorities can and should deliver weekly rubbish collections. The so-called "bins bible" shows how councils can deliver a comprehensive and frequent rubbish and recycling collection service, and deliver practical savings from common sense steps that do not harm the quality of the service that local taxpayers receive. It also refutes the “top 10 tall stories” that “bin barons” have used as excuses to cut the frequency of rubbish collection services. The guidance includes examples of local authorities that have kept weekly collections while increasing recycling and making efficiency savings. (6 January 2014)

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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

DCMS: Waste disposal of obsolete equipment – Digital Radio Action Plan report: the Digital Radio Action Plan (DRAP) sets out the process for allowing Government to make a well-informed decision on whether to proceed with a Radio Switchover, and if so how, it should be implemented. The Technology and Equipment Group (TEG) must identify, consider and make recommendations on issues relating to the development of digital radio technologies and equipment. This report sets out TEG's guidance to manufacturers and retailers on their responsibilities within the WEEE Directive 2002/96 on the disposal and recycling of obsolete analogue radio sets after switchover. (9 January 2014) 

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Waste Management

DEFRA: Reforming waste management guidance: seeks views on plans for simplified guidance on waste management as part of DEFRA’s Smarter Environmental Regulation Review.  The plans outline proposed content for the new guidance on WEEE, batteries, packaging, end of life vehicles, waste registration, hazardous waste and shipping. There are also lists of existing guidance with recommendations for what should happen to this guidance when DEFRA’s agencies’ web content is moved to the GOV.UK platform. The closing date for comments is 7 February 2014. (20 December 2013)

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Waste Minimisation

British Retailing Consortium: A better retailing climate – Driving resource efficiency: the Better Retailing Climate voluntary initiative, when first launched in 2008, announced five targets on reducing the direct environmental impact of the retail sector. These targets came to an end in 2013 and all have been exceeded. This document reports on the progress and achievements made by retailers in relation to these targets. It also announces a new set of challenging targets and commitments for the period 2014-2020. (29 January 2014)

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Waste Policy

DEFRA: Mid year report April to September 2013: provides an update on progress against the four priorities in the Departmental Business Plan. The second priority is "Improving the environment", which includes action being taken to reduce waste, namely: Drive a zero waste agenda; and Support anaerobic digestion (AD) which diverts food waste from landfill. it also gives figures on financial performance, staffing levels, and delivery of major projects. (23 January 2014)

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