Waste Watch - March 2016

Government and EU publications, legislation, cases and other developments in England and Wales relevant to those interested in waste management

04/04/2016

Nadeem Arshad

Nadeem Arshad

Partner

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:

  Duty of Care

  Permitting and Licensing

  Finance

  Procurement

  Hazardous Waste

  Producer Responsibility

  Incineration

  Recycling

  Litter and Fly-tipping

  Regulation

  Municipal Waste

 Waste Collection

Duty of Care

DEFRA: Waste Duty of Care Code of Practice: revised statutory guidance on how to meet the Waste Duty of Care requirements under s.34 EPA 1990. The Duty of Care requires anyone dealing with waste to keep it safe, make sure it’s dealt with responsibly and only given to businesses authorised to take it. It applies to anyone dealing with controlled wastes, including producers, carriers, dealers, brokers and managers. The new Code is broadly the same as the draft guidance published for consultation last July. Additions to the draft code include more information on the responsibilities of householders and advice on how long copies of documentation must be held for different waste types. (15 March 2016)

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Finance

HM Treasury: Budget 2016: the Chancellor has presented his Budget for 2016. Points of interest for waste authorities and waste managers include:

  • the Government will consult on consult on new rules requiring local authorities to be transparent about the cost of the in-house services they provide, and whether there could be savings from using competitive external providers; 
  • legislation on reduction of statutory plastic packaging recycling targets for 2016 and 2017 and new recycling targets for glass and plastic packaging for 2018, 2019 and 2020. The existing plastic target will be reduced to 49% for 2016 and then increased by 2% each year to 2020, to 57%. For glass, the existing target of 77% will be maintained until 2017 and then increased by 1% each year to 2020, to 80%; 
  • the standard and lower rates of Landfill Tax will increase in line with RPI, rounded to the nearest 5p, from 1 April 2017 and again from 1 April 2018;
  • HMRC will consult later this year on the definition of a taxable landfill disposal, with the intention of changing the definition in Finance Bill 2017;.
  • the Aggregates Levy rate will remain frozen at £2 per tonne in 2016-17; the Government will consult on a new exemption from the Aggregates Levy for aggregate which is an unavoidable by-product of laying pipes for utilities, with a view to legislating in Finance Bill 2017;
  • increase in HMRC compliance activity to tackle tax evasion and non-compliance across the waste supply chain, with additional funding for HMRC to increase its compliance activity in this area;
  • reforms to the Landfill Communities Fund, including simplification of record-keeping requirements and changes to the scheme’s objectives. The scheme’s regulator, ENTRUST, will publish guidance setting out the requirement for landfill operators to make a greater contribution to the fund from April 2016.

(16 March 2016)

National Assembly for Wales: Tax Collection and Management (Wales) Bill: this Bill has been passed by the National Assembly and is awaiting Royal Assent. The Bill puts in place the legal framework necessary for the collection and management of the proposed new devolved taxes, Land Transaction Tax and Landfill Disposals Tax, when these are introduced from April 2018. The Bill is the first of three bills that together will establish devolved tax arrangements in Wales; it will be followed by legislation for the new devolved Welsh taxes. (8 March 2016)
The Welsh Government issued a consultation on the proposed new Landfill Disposals Tax in February 2015. This will be a tax on disposals to landfill made in Wales, replacing the Landfill Tax.

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Hazardous Waste

Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/336): these regulations, which come into force on 1 April 2016, revoke Part 5 of the Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/894) which requires the notification of premises at which hazardous waste is produced at, collected at or removed from. The changes result from the 2013 Zero Based review which decided that there was no justification for the continued requirement for premises notification. The regulations also make consequential amendments arising from the revocation of Part 5, and correct an error in reg.49(4) of the 2005 Regulations.  (11 March 2016)

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Incineration

CIWM: UK signs international secondary resources trade deal: announces that the UK has signed the  North Sea Resources Roundabout (NSRR), an international voluntary agreement between France, Flanders, the UK and the Netherlands. The NSRR is intended to stimulate international trading of secondary resources left over after waste incineration, such as incinerator bottom ash. The agreement seeks to harmonise quality protocols and waste definitions and classifications across the four countries. (8 March 2016)

R (Surringer) v Vale of Glamorgan Council [2016] EWHC 494 (Admin) (Admin Ct): S applied to quash the Council's decision to grant planning permission for the construction of a facility for the recycling of incinerator bottom ash (IBSA). The recycling process would produce IBA aggregates for use in road construction. A detailed "dust assessment" provided that the impact of dust arising from the stored IBA would be negligible. The planning officer's report stated that the proposal complied with the general principles of waste strategy set out in the national documents by recycling 100% of the IBA produced by the local incinerator, which was classified as a non-hazardous waste material that would otherwise be sent to landfill, to produce a usable secondary aggregate product that could reduce the need for quarried stock material for aggregate and cement production. S contended that the statement in the officer's report that IBA was classified as non-hazardous was misleading and amounted to a fatal flaw in the decision-making process; also, the Council had also failed to take into account risks to human health even where IBA was classified as non-hazardous, and the officer's report had not dealt with health questions. S also argued that there was also inadequate, and therefore unlawful, consultation.
The court held, refusing the application, that the statement in the officer's report was not materially misleading. The planning application, the supporting documentation, the consultation, the permit, and the officer's report were all plainly based on the fundamental premise that the IBA brought to the site would be non-hazardous. The risks (including any risks to health) posed by dust spreading from this site were fully consulted on and considered by both the officer's report and the planning committee, and there was no arguable deficiency in the decision-making process. Nor was the consultation process flawed. (17 March 2016)

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Litter and Fly-tipping

Unauthorised Deposit of Waste (Fixed Penalties) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/334): these regulations, which come into force on 9 May 2016, insert a new s.33ZA into the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to allow a waste collection authority in England to issue a fixed penalty notice for fly-tipping (contravention of s.33(1)(a)). The fine can be not less than £150 and not more than £400 as specified by the waste collection authority, and £200 if no amount is specified. The Government will issue updated guidance for local authorities on issuing fixed penalty notices. (11 March 2016)

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Municipal Waste

WRAP: Systematic survey of local authority plans for waste and recycling services in England: presents the findings of a 2014 survey of 119 LA waste managers in England on the changes planned for recycling and waste management services and the drivers for these changes. The survey also aimed to identify the barriers local authorities were facing locally in increasing recycling. 59% of respondents reported that some changes to the services in their authority were planned over the next five years. Common themes showed a consideration of further reductions in residual waste capacity either by lower frequency services or reduced container capacity and whether to charge for garden waste services. The most frequently mentioned driver identified through the survey was the need to make financial savings and address budget pressures. (23 March 2016)

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Permitting and Licensing

Environment Agency: Guidance on low risk waste activities: updated guidance on the Environment Agency's regulatory position on low risk waste activities. Having considered the risks posed by the listed activities, the Agency does not believe it is in the public interest to expect the operators of those activities to obtain an environmental permit. The activity must be a recycling or recovery activity or involve the disposal of waste in the site of production. (4 March 2016)

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Procurement

Concession Contracts Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/273): these regulations, which come into force on 18 April 2016, implement the new Concession Contracts Directive 2014/23, which provides rules for the award of concession contracts above certain thresholds by public authorities and utilities. They regulations also implement the Remedies Directives 89/665 and 92/13 so far as they apply to remedies and review procedures for the procurement of concession contracts. Together with the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/102) and the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/274), they form a package of measures to improve public procurement processes.
See also the Crown Commercial Service's Procurement Policy Note 02/16 that announces the new regulations and explains when they come into force. (17 March 2016)

Public Procurement (Amendments, Repeals and Revocations) Regulations 2016 (SI 2016/275): these regulations, which come into force on 17 March 2016, make consequential amendments, repeals and revocations to primary and secondary legislation as a result of implementing the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 and the Concession Contracts Regulations 2016. They also correct and amend the Public Contracts Regulations 2015, including amendments to transpose Commission Implementing Regulation 2015/1986 establishing standards forms for publication of notices in the field of public procurement. (17 March 2016)

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Producer Responsibility

DEFRA: Consolidation of the Packaging Regulations: seeks views on draft Packaging Waste Regulations 2016 that consolidate the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 (SI 2007/871) and amending regulations, to provide greater clarity of language where there is ambiguity and make the Regulations more accessible by combining them into a single document. Also, language has been updated and the text aims to provide more uniformity in use of language and definition. The consolidation does not aim to bring any policy changes and DEFRA is seeking comments solely on the consolidation in terms of clarity. The consultation closes on 19 April 2016. (23 March 2016)

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Recycling

WRAP: 3Rs recycling knowledge, attitudes and reported behaviour survey 2015: presents key highlights from the recycling section of the 2015 3Rs survey that have implications for recycling practices and communications. It looks at claimed recycling behaviour, knowledge and attitudes of householders, and for the first time it also focuses on food waste collection services. (23 March 2015)

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Regulation

DEFRA: Environmental Regulation team moves from BIS to DEFRA: announces that the DBIS Environmental Regulation team will transfer into the DEFRA Environmental Quality Directorate on 1 April 2016 under a Machinery of Government change. The team has policy responsibility for enforcement of a range of waste and product-related EU-derived regulations that have either Single Market or producer responsibility objectives. The press release lists the relevant legislation that will be transferred from DBIS to DEFRA Ministers as a consequence of this Machinery of Government change. (24 March 2016)

DBIS: Cutting red tape – Review of the waste sector: the Cutting Red Tape Waste Review asked businesses, trade associations and industry experts to tell them where regulation causes barriers to growth, innovation and productivity in the waste sector. The Review identified numerous issues and themes about waste crime as well as regulatory burdens, from specific issues regarding the current permitting system, the producer responsibility regulations and inspections regime to wider more strategic issues such as the duplication of regulation and the interpretation of EU Directives. This report summarises the Review's findings and outlines some of its future work to address the issues and concerns raised. (3 March 2016)

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Waste Collection

WRAP: Household food waste collections guide: guide for local authorities on the collection of household food waste as a means of diverting material from landfill or other residual waste treatment. It updates the 2009 guide and pulls together the findings from more recent studies and pilots conducted by WRAP and others. The guide includes the different options and systems for collecting food waste and highlights issues to consider when planning and implementing a new food waste collection scheme. It also provides advice to local authorities with existing weekly separate food waste collections on how to increase participation and capture through effective promotion and communication activities.
There is also a summary of the guide's key points. (23 March 2016)

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