Brief details of recent legal and policy developments in England and Wales relevant to those interested in waste management.
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 two months.
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:
|Health and Safety||Producer Responsibility|
|Litter and fly-tipping||Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment|
|Permitting and Licensing||Waste Management|
Collins v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government  EWHC 5 (Admin): C appealed against the planning inspector's decision to uphold an enforcement notice requiring him to cease importing and depositing waste into a disused sand quarry. C argued that he was not importing or disposing of waste at all, but was in the process of building an access road to woodland in the site and that the materials were specifically intended to be used for the purpose of creating the access and ceased to be waste when they were brought onto the land. At the time that the enforcement notice was issued, the waste had been placed on the site but had not been incorporated into the road; this was later done.
The court held, allowing the appeal, that the Inspector had made a misdirection as to the form of disposal referred to in the enforcement notice. The short time that the materials were in a heap on the land before being transformed into the hardcore of the road was not a 'getting rid' of them or a tipping them on to land, which was what the planning authority thought to be the case. There had accordingly been no change of use of land for disposal of waste on the land for the purposes of the enforcement notice. There might be cases where a temporary deposit of waste that remained in place for a period before it was recovered could amount to a disposal. However, having regard to the terms of the enforcement notice read in the context of the planning history and the reasons for enforcement action given by the local authority at the inquiry, this was not the activity that was being alleged had taken place in breach of planning control. (12 January 2016)
Environment Agency: Hazardous waste: introductory guide for producers, holders, carriers and consignees of hazardous waste. (8 February 2016)
Sentencing Council: Health and safety offences, corporate manslaughter and food safety and hygiene offences – Definitive guideline: these new sentencing guidelines came into force on 1 February 2016. For health and safety offences, fines range from £50 – £10m, while for corporate manslaughter the range is £180,000 – £20m. Very large organisations could be subject to unlimited fines for the most serious offences. (1 February 2016)
LGA: Fly-tipping – Manufacturers urged by councils to contribute to clear-up of abandoned TVs: the LGA is calling for more firms and retailers to voluntarily provide 'take back' services, where people can hand in their old televisions when they buy new ones, in order to help clear-up of hundreds of thousands of fly-tipped. (23 December 2015)
Environment Agency: Waste – environmental permits: guidance on how to apply for standard and bespoke permits for using, treating, storing and disposing of waste, and check when a permit is not needed. It is part of a new suite of permitting guidance that also includes guidance on waste disposal or recovery methods, best available techniques and registering waste exemptions. (1 February 2016)
Environment Agency: Business engagement assessment – Amendments to landspreading standard rules: this draft business engagement assessment considers the financial impacts of a proposal to revise standard rules that authorise the landspreading of waste on land for recovery, and separate standard rules that authorise the storage of waste destined for landspreading. The Agency is inviting comments with supporting information specifically on the financial impacts of the proposed changes. The closing date for comments is 14 February 2016. (14 January 2016)
DEFRA: Single departmental plan 2015 to 2020: sets out the Government's objectives for this Parliament and how DCLG is fulfilling its commitments. The plan will be revised annually, each April. DCLG’s plan focuses on six objectives:
Waste is not mentioned, other than that DEFRA will develop new approaches for tackling waste crime, including using £20m from reform of the Landfill Communities Fund, and for tackling litter. (19 February 2016)
Each of the government departments' plans are available on the Cabinet Office's web page.
DEFRA: Consultation on a set of specific proposed changes to official statistics produced by the DEFRA group: seeks views on a proposed set of specific changes to Official Statistics produced across DEFRA. The proposals include changing the frequency of the publication of the England household waste recycling statistics from quarterly to annually. Local authorities will be able to retain quarterly reporting with interim reports available through WasteDataFlow (as currently). The consultation closes on 24 March 2016. (25 February 2016)
Cabinet Office: Government Response to the consultations on UK transposition of new EU Procurement Directives: sets out the Government's response to the August 2015 consultation on UK transposition of the new Utilities Contracts Directive 2014/25 and the new Concession Contracts Directive 2014/23. It states that the consultation has confirmed that the draft regulations implement the Directives effectively and do so in the best way, subject to the results described in this document. The Government now intends to implement the new Utilities Contracts Regulations and Concession Contracts Regulations by 18 April 2016 for England, Wales and Northern Ireland. (3 February 2016)
Cabinet Office: Procurement Policy Note PPN 01/16: Ensuring compliance with wider international obligations when letting public contracts: this note reminds contracting authorities of their international obligations when letting public contracts. It makes clear that procurement boycotts by public authorities are inappropriate, outside where formal legal sanctions, embargoes and restrictions have been put in place by the Government. (17 February 2016)
Bevan Brittan's Commissioning Bytes: the new Public Contracts Regulations 2015 replace the old Part B services approach to health and social care contracts with a more formal set of obligations called the 'Light Regime'. We have produced a series of Commissioning Bytes that highlight some practical steps towards being light regime ready. The first five are:
Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/241): these regulations, which come into force on 24 February 2016, make a number of amendments to SI 2007/891 that establishes the system of packaging waste producer responsibility in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. They reduce regulatory burdens on producer businesses by removing the requirement to provide operational plans, transferring the approvals process from the Secretary of State to the Environment Agency and allowing an “approved person” to delegate the responsibility for signing off reports. (23 February 2016)
Environment Agency: Waste collection authority separate collection arrangements – Survey results: the Environment Agency asked English waste collection authorities to complete a survey about how they are implementing reg.13(3) of the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 on separate collections. The survey results show that most WCAs in England have completed necessity and TEEP assessments or planned to do so by the end of 2015. (21 January 2016)
WRAP: Opportunities for greater consistency in collections – Work begins on phase two: announce the start of the second phase of the cross industry project to examine ways to bring greater consistency to household waste and recycling collections in England. Working closely with Resources Minister Rory Stewart, the project has brought together representatives from local authorities, waste management contractors, recyclers, producers and the retail sector to examine opportunities for greater consistency in household collection and recycling services. (12 February 2016)
Environment Agency: WEEE – Evidence and national protocols guidance: updated guidance on WEEE producer compliance schemes. It has been updated to include guidance on how to complete the recovery and recycling rate template. (25 January 2016)
Critical Raw Material: European project launches tender to improve collection and recovery of critical raw materials from electrical waste: announces that the Collect and Recovery trial tender is open now. Suppliers are encouraged to demonstrate the entire collection, reuse and recovery cycle within their tenders. Collection trials must be delivered in the UK, Germany, Italy or Turkey, and the recovery trials must happen in an EU member state. The closing date for applications is 7 April 2016. (11 February 2016)
MoD: Sustainable MOD strategy – Waste management 2015 - 2025: this strategy support the Sustainable MOD strategy 2015 to 2025 and provides the framework to drive continuous improvement in waste management, along with effectively contributing to the MOD’s drive to be a more resilient organisation to the future. (19 February 2016)