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:

   Charging    Waste Management
   Food Waste    Waste Planning
   Producer Responsibility    Waste Policy


DCLG: Preventing ‘backdoor’ charging at household waste recycling centres: seeks views on how household waste recycling centres at risk of closure can stay open, without local authorities resorting to charging their residents to dispose of household waste and recycling. The Government is aware that some local authorities have introduced, or plan to introduce, a charge to anybody accessing certain household waste recycling centres to dispose of household waste and/or recycling by classifying these centres as ‘discretionary’ so they fall outside requirements of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. This paper sets out proposals to use:

  • s.94(1) LGA 2003 to disapply s.93 of that Act, which enables local authorities to charge for discretionary services, so they cannot use this as the legislation permitting them to charge for use of ‘discretionary’ household waste recycling centres; and 
  • the power under s.5(3) of the Localism Act 2011 to prevent English local authorities from exercising the General Power of Competence as the legal basis for charging at ‘discretionary’ household waste recycling centres.

The paper includes draft Local Government (Prohibition of Charges for the Deposit of Household Waste at a Household Waste Recycling Centre) (England) Order 2015 and draft Local Authorities (Prohibition of Charging Residents to Deposit Household Waste) Order 2015 that implement these proposals. The consultation closes on 18 February 2015. (22 January 2015)

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Food Waste

HC Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee: Food security: demand, consumption and waste: this report discusses managing consumer demand for food. It highlights concerns that the nation continues to waste food on a significant scale. It notes that 9m tonnes of the UK’s annual 15m tonnes of food waste could have been eaten at some point. Supporting the work of the Waste and Resources Action Programme to tackle this, the Commttee calls on the Government to ensure the organisation remains adequately funded. It also calls on DEFRA to lead a joined-up national approach that saves and redistributes surplus food from all parts of the supply chain. (22 January 2015) 

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Producer Responsibility

EPBA: The collection of waste portable batteries in Europe in view of the achievability of the collection targets set by Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC: the European Portable Battery Association has issued a report which updates its 2013 study on the collection of waste portable batteries in view of the achievability of the collection target set by the Batteries Directive 2006/66/EC. The report provides the most up to date analysis of the collection rates for portable batteries in the EU Member States as well as Norway and Switzerland by investigating the targets for battery collection set in the Directive. It gives examples of best practice by looking at the countries that achieve high collection rates and suggesting ways to improve the collection systems. (January 2015) 

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Waste Management

DEFRA: Waste management in England – Government response to the Committee’s Fourth Report of Session 2014–15: the Commons EFRA Committee's report (October 2014) was critcal of DEFRA's role and responsibility for waste management policy and its priorities regarding waste. This response states that DEFRA has not ‘stepped back’ from all waste and resource management policy, but refocused activities in areas that only Government can and must do. It is committed to achieve 50% recycling of household waste by 2020; it believes that local authorities should lead on determining the most appropriate recycling arrangements for their area, taking into account local circumstances. The Coalition Government currently has no plans to reintroduce statutory recycling targets for local authorities. It considers that it is only once EU negotiations on any new waste legislation proposal have substantively concluded that the Government would have sufficient clarity to consider what further action, including on support and infrastructure, will be necessary to meet future EU measures. (12 January 2015) 

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Waste Planning

Veolia ES (UK) Ltd v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government; Hertfordshire CC, Welwyn Hatfield BC, New Barnfield Action Fund and Gascoyne Cecil Estates (Interested Parties) [2015] EWHC 91 (Admin): V, a waste management company, appealed against the SoS's refusal of planning permission for the construction and operation of a Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility to treat municipal, commercial and industrial wastes. The main ground of challenge was that the SoS had  failed to take into account and evaluate important provisions inserted into the local authority's Waste Site Allocations Local Plan as "main modifications". The Allocation Plan was prepared for the purpose of allocating sites for waste management facilities in the county in accordance with the Waste Core Strategy. The Plan was examined by an inspector,  whose hearings overlapped with the public inquiry held by a different Inspector into the called-in planning application. The planning inspector concluded that although substantial weight should be given to the development on waste management grounds, that did not outweigh the harm to the Green Belt and other serious harm to the character and appearance of the area, harm to the amenity of users of the footpath network and "less than substantial" but "significant" harm to heritage assets. The SoS accepted the inspector's conclusions and refused planning permission. However, the inspector had not seen the Allocation Plan inspector's main modifications to the Plan, and the local authority adopted the Plan with those main modifications shortly after the SoS's decision.
The court held, allowing the appeal, that the SoS had failed to take into account and evaluate a combination of factors arising from his inspector's examination of the Allocation Plan, and in particular failed to weigh them in the "very special circumstances" balance alongside those matters which the SoS did take into account. The sensible way of reading the local authority's contention that the proposal was in accordance with an up-to-date development plan, was that the authority was relying upon the consequences of the allocation as set out in the Allocation Plan and treated them as altering the "very special circumstances" balance. These were matters which the SoS was obliged to take into account and evaluate. If the decision letter had been issued a few days later then the SoS would have been obliged to take into account, evaluate and apply relevant policies in the Allocation Plan. In the circumstances, he had to assess all the relevant implications of the imminent adoption of the Plan for himself. (22 January 2015)

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Waste Policy

EEA: Waste prevention in Europe – The status in 2013: this report presents a first review of waste prevention programmes across Europe, as drawn up under the Waste Framework Directive 2008/98. (13 January 2015) 

EU Decision 2014/955/EU: Amending Decision 2000/532/EC on the list of waste pursuant to Directive 2008/98/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council [2014] OJ L370/44: this EU Decision amends the EU List of Waste Decision 2000/532, so as to adapt it to technical and scientific progress and align it with new legislation on chemicals. It enters into force on 19 January 2015 and applies from 1 June 2015. (30 December 2014)

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