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:

   Efficiency    Procurement
   Export of Waste    Recycling
   Funding    Waste Management
   Packaging Waste    Waste Policy
   Permitting and Licensing


HM Treasury: Public Sector Efficiency Challenge – Chancellor and Chief Secretary's letter to public sector workers: the Chancellor George Osborne and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands have written to public sector workers asking for their ideas on how the Government can do more for less through the Public Sector Efficiency Challenge. The letter invites them to take part in an online survey to share their ideas for doing more while saving public money, ahead of this year’s Spending Review. This follows a similar exercise in 2010 in which people who were working on the front line were asked to suggest ways to improve the public services they provide, using their expertise and knowledge of how those services are actually delivered. The closing date for suggestions is 4 September 2015. (3 August 2015)

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Export of Waste

Environment Agency: Producer responsibility – Examples of broadly equivalent standards for packaging and equivalent standards for WEEE: the Agency has published guidance and a look-up table of acceptable evidence that packaging or WEEE exporters can use to prove that overseas sites are operating to broadly equivalent standards to those operating in the UK. (27 August 2015)

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LWRB: LWARB to set up early stage private equity fund to accelerate London’s circular economy: announces the Board's strategy to invest up to £3m into a private equity fund. The aim will be to invest in venture-stage or growth-stage businesses that will help accelerate the move to a circular economy in London. The new fund‘s focus is likely to be on innovative waste management technologies, and may also emphasise less capital-intensive, asset-light business models in the wider circular economy sector. LWARB will conduct a period of consultation with potential providers in order to prove the concept, and develop views on the optimal fund structure. (4 August 2015)

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Permitting and Licensing

DEFRA: Consolidation of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010 (as amended): seeks views on draft regulations that consolidate SI 2010/675 and all its amendments. DEFRA wants to be sure that no errors have occurred as part of the drafting process. The consolidated regulations should come into force on 1 January 2017. The consultation closes on 27 October 2015. (18 August 2015)

R (Lafarge Aggregates Ltd) v Secretary of State for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs [2015] EWHC 2388 (Admin) (Admin Ct): LA, quarry operators, applied for judicial review of the inspector's dismissal of their appeal against the Secretary of State's refusal to grant them a standard rules environmental permit. LA applied for an environmental permit in connection with its restoration of a quarry and the reinstatement of a public path through the middle of the site. LA proposed to use inert waste to raise land levels to support the reinstated path and applied for a permit in respect of the waste. The inspector concluded that reinstating the footpath by using waste would not be "serving a useful purpose by replacing other materials that would otherwise have been used to fulfil that function", and it would not be a waste recovery operation within art.3(15) of the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98 (WFD). The central issue was whether the inspector had correctly interpreted art.3(15).
The court held, refusing the application, that the WFD had to be interpreted in a purposive manner. Article 3(15) had the clear objective of securing the conservation of natural resources by the use of waste instead of the natural resource. As part of that substitution exercise the waste used would have to be proportionate to the natural resource which the waste was replacing for it to fulfil its function in accordance with the WFD. The inspector had been entitled to explore alternatives to waste as part of a consideration of whether the operation would be carried out using some other material and he had carried out a permissible exercise under art.3(15) WFD by examining what "would otherwise" be likely. Although he was examining alternatives under the environmental permitting regime, he was entitled to take the existence of the statutory planning regime into account. The inspector's approach was consistent both with EU case law and with art.3(15). (13 August 2015)

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Packaging Waste

WRAP: WRAP and Valpak to carry out new paper and card packaging flow research: announces that DEFRA has commissioned WRAP and Valpak to produce robust and independent updated estimates of the amount of paper and card packaging placed on the market (POM), and the amount recycled, recovered or sent to landfill for the period 2014-2020 in the UK. Such estimates will be used to fulfil EU requirements for reporting recycling performance for the UK. (6 August 2015)

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CCS: Procurement Policy Note 13/15: Increasing the transparency of contract information: provides guidance on how to implement the transparency principles published in March 2015. It aims to increase the type and accessibility of contract and procurement data to the public. It applies to all central government departments including their executive agencies and NDPBs. It applies to contracts advertised on or after 1 September 2015. (3 August 2015)

CCS: Procurement Policy Note 14/15: Supporting apprenticeships and skills through public procurement: this PPN requires departments, their executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies to consider the opportunity for apprenticeships and skills development in their contracting requirements. These changes apply to contracts with a full life value of £10m or more with duration of 12 months and above. Businesses bidding for relevant contracts will need to propose the number of apprenticeships they expect to create in fulfilling the contract. This projection will be reviewed as part of the tender evaluation process and written into the ensuing contract. The contracting authority will take action if the supplier does not meet its commitment. (27 August 2015)

Cabinet Office: UK transposition of new EU Procurement Directive – Concessions Contracts Regulations 2016: seeks views on draft regulations that implement the Concessions Directive 2014/23 in the UK from 18 April 2016. The Government is consulting on whether the draft Regulations transpose the Directive effectively and in the best way.  
The Cabinet Office is also consulting on draft Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 that implement the Utilities Directive 2014/25. Both consultations close on 18 September 2015. (21 August 2015)

Cabinet Office: Public Contracts Regulations 2015 – Guidance on 'public/public' contracts: guidance on Reg.12 of the 2015 Regulations, which sets out new provisions that codify, clarify and develop the case law on whether contracts between public bodies should be subject to the public procurement rules or not. The new rules also cover the circumstances where either vertical or horizontal contracts / arrangements fall outside the rules. (26 August 2015)

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WRAP: How to engage registered providers of social housing in re-use projects: this step-by-step guide aims to encourage more partnerships between local authorities, waste management companies and third sector organisations. It looks at the potential for re-use from void clearances and how monitoring can provide data to develop a simple business case. (1 August 2015) 

Bury MBC: Recycling rises as residents shun the grey bin: Bury Council announces that the borough’s household recycling rate is now 57.5%, a marked increase of more than 10% since it introduced three-weekly collections of non-recyclable waste last year. (4 August 2015)

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Waste Management

Environment Agency: Waste quality protocols: the Agency has published two new Quality Protocols that explain how to achieve end of waste status for certain waste derived materials. The new QPs cover Recycled gypsum from waste plasterboard and Non-packaging plastics. (13 August 2015)

Welsh Government: Local authority municipal waste management: the latest provisional figures on Welsh local authorities' reuse, recycling and composting of municipal waste indicate that the reuse, recycling and composting rate for 2014-15 was 56%, an increase of 2 percentage points on the previous year’s figures and 4% higher than the statutory target of 52%. (20 August 2015)

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Waste Policy

Welsh Government: Towards zero waste 2010 - 2050 – Progress report: the Welsh Government's strategy Towards Zero Waste outlines the actions to be taken in order to reach its ambition of becoming a high recycling nation by 2025 and a zero waste nation by 2050. This document sets out progress made in waste management since publishing the strategy. (31 July 2015) 

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