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:

   Incineration    Waste Management
   Infrastructure    Waste Policy
   Legislation

Incineration

European Commission: Kick-off meeting for the review of the Reference Document on Best Available Techniques for Waste Incineration: report of the first plenary meeting of the Technical Working Group (TWG) for the review of the Reference Document on the Best Available Techniques for Waste Incineration (WI BREF) held in Seville, Spain on 19 – 22 January 2015. This meeting officially started the work on the review of the WI BREF, which will be a document based on the exchange of information between the members of the TWG. The revised WI BREF will be the reference for setting permit conditions for the activities covered. The initial positions from the TWG members included enlarging the scope of the WI BREF to include activities not covered by the current WI BREF with an emphasis on the co-incineration of waste and activities not regulated by the Industrial Emissions Directive 2010/75 (crematoria and gaseous waste incineration plants under the IED thresholds). The TWG also discussed specific issues in relation to the WI BREF. (29 April 2015)

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Legislation

Queen's Speech 2015:  the Queen has outlined the Government’s legislative programme for the next year, on the State Opening of Parliament. Her Majesty did not announce any Bills directly affecting waste management. Bills that may be of interest to municipal waste managers include:

  • Cities and Local Government Devolution Bill: provides for the devolution of powers to cities with elected metro mayors, helping to build a Northern Powerhouse. The Bill would enable an elected mayor for the combined authority’s area to exercise specified functions and chair the authority; the mayor would also undertake the functions of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) for the area. The Bill will remove the statutory limitations on a combined authority's functions (currently these are limited to those on economic development, regeneration, and transport) and enable local authority governance to be streamlined as agreed by councils. The Bill has been now introduced into Parliament and received its 1st Reading.
  • Energy Bill: includes changing the law in line with the manifesto commitment to give local communities the final say on wind farm applications.
  • Enterprise Bill: will reduce regulation on small businesses so they can create jobs. Includes: 
    • introducing a cap on exit payments made to public sector workers to end six figure payoffs for the best paid public sector workers; 
    • extending the Primary Authority scheme to streamline regulation around the country.
  • Draft Public Service Ombudsman Bill: will reform and modernise the Public Service Ombudsman sector providing a more effective and accessible final tier of complaints redress within the public sector; and absorb the functions of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, the Health Ombudsman, the Local Government Ombudsman and potentially the Housing Ombudsman.

Her Majesty also announced: 

  • changes to the House of Commons' Standing Orders so that decisions affecting England, or England and Wales, can be taken only with the consent of the majority of Members of Parliament representing constituencies in those parts of the UK;
  • early legislation on an in-out referendum on membership of the European Union before the end of 2017;
  • consultation on proposals for a Bill of Rights to replace the Human Rights Act.

For further details, see the Government's Background briefing notes and the LGA's On the day briefing. (27 May 2015)

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Infrastructure

Welsh Government: Developments of national significance: seeks views on detailed proposals to establish a new category of planning development Developments of National Significance (DNS). These are developments which are few in number but of greatest significance to Wales because of their potential benefits and impacts. Planning applications for such developments will be made directly to the Welsh Ministers and decided by them. This consultation sets out detailed proposals for a system to administer and determine this category of planning application and build on those proposals set out in the Planning (Wales) Bill. The consultation closes on 20 August 2015. (20 May 2015)

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Waste Management

Environment (Wales) Bill: this Bill has been introduced into the National Assembly and is at Stage 1. Part 3 reforms the law on charges for carrier bags and Part 4 gives the Welsh Ministers powers in relation to waste recycling (including the separate collection of waste), food waste treatment and energy recovery in business. The provisions are summarised in the factsheets: Carrier Bag Charging Scheme and Waste. There are also FAQs on the aims of the Bill.
The Welsh Government has produced a flow chart showing the link between the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Bill, the Planning (Wales) Bill and the Environment (Wales) Bill. (11 May 2015)

National Assembly: Consultation on the Environment (Wales) Bill: the Environment and Sustainability Committee is undertaking an inquiry into the general principles of the Environment (Wales) Bill. The closing date for comments is 12 June 2015. (15 May 2015)

Environment Agency: Technical Guidance WM3 – Waste classification: Guidance on the classification and assessment of waste: technical guidance for anyone involved in producing, managing and regulating waste. It explains how to assess if waste displays a hazardous property and how to classify it. (14 May 2015)

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Waste Policy

Election 2015: Prime Minister and ministerial appointments: Elizabeth Truss has been re-appointed as Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Other DEFRA appointments are: Minister of State – George Eustice, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Rory Stewart. This announcement lists all the ministerial appointments in the new government. (12 May 2015) 

European Commission: Circular economy roadmap: the Commission is aiming to present a new, more ambitious circular economy strategy late in 2015, to transform Europe into a more competitive resource-efficient economy, addressing a range of economic sectors, including waste. The new strategy will include a new legislative proposal on waste targets, taking into account the input from public consultations, and by Council and in Parliament, in particular the comments made by many that the previous proposals needed to be more country-specific. This roadmap sets the policy context of the initiative and explains its objectives. (31 April 2015)

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