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:

   Biomass    Producer Responsibility
   Enforcement    Waste Management
   Food Waste    WEEE
   Litter and Fly-tipping  


European Bioenergy Research Institute: Biomass and waste pyrolysis – A guide to UK capabilities: this updated guide reports on UK capabilities and progress in fast, intermediate and slow pyrolysis. Profiling 17 different universities and companies involved in pyrolysis research and developments in the country, the guide provides information on what each respective school or firm is using as fuel, its conversion process and progress made toward commercialisation. (8 October 2015)

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DEFRA: Enforcement policy statement: explains the options and tools that DEFRA has available to enforce against those who break the law, based on the four overarching principles of proportionality, consistency, transparency and targeting. It sets out what considerations it takes into account when choosing which sanction(s) to apply. (27 October 2015)

Environment Agency: Enforcement and sanctions guidance: updated guidance on how the Environment Agency makes enforcement decisions, the types of tools available and associated processes. (8 October 2015)

DEFRA: Waste crime – Improving enforcement powers to reduce persistent non-compliance at waste handling sites : Summary of responses and Government response: sets out the response to the February 2015 consultation on proposals to enhance enforcement powers for the regulators and local authorities to help them tackle entrenched non-compliance at sites permitted to handle waste. The consultation also asked for evidence on a range of measures to tackle waste crime and persistent poor performance in the waste management industry. DEFRA states that, in light of the responses, it will implement most of its proposals. The plans include:

  • clarifying the regulators' existing enforcement powers, including power to suspend permits and power to apply for an injunction to enforce compliance with an enforcement notice; 
  • introducing Fixed Penalty Notices for fly-tipping in England; and 
  • further consultation on the principle of an ‘operator competence test’ that would apply to all types of regulated activity carried out under an environmental permit.

However, it will not take forward plans for a national scheme to fund the clean-up of abandoned or orphaned waste management sites; instead, it will look at ways to reduce the opportunity for abandonment and make sure that operators have made sufficient financial provision to meet the obligations associated with their permits and the cost of site clearance and remediation. (9 October 2015)

Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1756): these regulations, which come into force on 30 October 2015, amend SI 2010/675 o give the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Body for Wales and local authorities more robust powers to tackle illegal operators. It amends existing powers to suspend environmental permits, to seek an injunction in the High Court and to remove a risk of serious pollution. (9 October 2015)

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Food Waste

WRAP: An action plan for food waste recycling: announces that WRAP is leading a steering group to develop and deliver a plan that will identify tangible, industry led actions to maximise the amount of household and commercial food waste collected and recycled in England. The steering group will comprise representatives from the food waste treatment industry, as well as local authority food and private sector waste collectors and industry bodies. The action plan is due to be published by the end of March 2016. (15 October 2015)

WRAP: Courtauld Commitment 3 interim results & case studies: the Courtauld Commitment is a voluntary agreement aimed at improving resource efficiency and reducing waste within the UK grocery sector. This second interim report shows that manufacturing and retail waste has significantly reduced against the baseline 2012 figure. Signatories have helped achieve a considerable reduction in traditional grocery ingredient, product and packaging waste in the manufacturing and retail operations of participants, down 80,000 tonnes against the 2012 baseline. This shows strong progress towards the target standing at 3.2% after the first two years, against the overall 3% target by 2015 for the agreement. (28 October 2015)

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Litter and Fly-tipping

DEFRA: Fly-tipping statistics for England, 2014 to 2015: summarises the number and type of incidents of illegally deposited waste contrary to s.33(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the cost of dealing with them and the actions taken against fly tipping in England. The figures show that fly-tipping incidents have increased by 5.6% since 2013/14 with nearly two thirds of fly-tips involving household waste. The estimated cost of clearance of fly-tipping to local authorities in England in 2014/15 was nearly £50m, an 11% increase on 2013/14. (20 October 2015)

LGA: Councils count the cost of removing fly-tipping and abandoned shopping trolleys: the LGA is calling for supermarkets to work with councils to combat the trolley thieves and tackle the issue of abandoned trolleys at source. It wants the system for claiming the costs of removal, storage and disposal of abandoned carts from trolley owners to be streamlined so it is quick and easy for councils to get compensation. This article includes three case studies of action taken by councils to combat abandoned trolleys. (24 October 2015)

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Producer Responsibility

DEFRA: Consultation on proposed changes to the Waste Batteries Regulations 2009, PRO (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007, PRO (Packaging Waste) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007, and call for evidence on the impact of new plastic flow figures, and links with household waste recycling targets – Summary of responses: summarises responses received to the March 2015 consultation on proposals to amend the regulations for producer responsibility for batteries and packaging waste. The Government states that in light of the responses, it will lay the regulations before Parliament for implementation from 1 January 2016. (13 October 2015) 

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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

DBIS: WEEE compliance fee methodology – Evaluation of proposals: in 2013 DBIS announced that it would implement a new household WEEE system based upon a WEEE collection target given to Producer Compliance Schemes (PCSs), along with an option to pay a compliance fee (should one be approved by the Secretary of State) if a PCS failed to meet its target. In July 2015, stakeholders submitted proposals for a WEEE compliance fee methodology. DBIS is now seeking views on the three proposals received, in particular: whether the Secretary of State should approve a compliance fee for 2015; and how well the proposals meet the published evaluation criteria. The consultation closes on 15 November 2015. (13 October 2015) 

WRAP: New €2.1 million project to map out effective recovery of raw materials from electrical products: announces that WRAP is to lead a new, EU-LIFE funded project, Critical Raw Material Closed Loop Recovery (CRM Recovery). The project will explore commercial opportunities for harvesting critical raw materials and precious metals including gold, silver and platinum group metals, from everyday unwanted electronic products. It will link collection methods, such as kerbside collections, retailer take-back schemes or postal returns, to how the material components of these products can be efficiently dismantled, recovered and returned to the market. (13 October 2015)

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Waste Management

EEB: Municipal waste performance contracts: this report by Eunomia for the European Environmental Bureau focuses on an economic tool which can improve waste management, in line with the European waste treatment hierarchy, and encourage the move to a circular economy model – waste performance contracts. The report proposes the following definition for performance contracting: ‘a contract for the management of waste which, through the action of a contractually agreed payment mechanism related to defined performance indicators and targets, incentivises the movement of waste management further up the waste hierarchy, and enhances the prospects for improved resource efficiency and the flourishing of a circular economy.’ This executive summary includes a list of the key characteristics which need to be considered when drawing up a waste performance contract.
There is also a case study on What a waste performance contract for bulky waste could look like with a bulky waste performance payment process. (15 October 2015)

Environment Agency: Waste management for England 2014: summary of data about wastes accepted and removed from permitted waste management facilities It includes information on the management of hazardous wastes and the number of sites. (23 October 2015)

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