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:

   Commercial Waste    Permitting and Licensing
   Enforcement    Recycling
   Food Waste    Waste Collection
   Litter and Fly-tipping    Waste Policy

Commercial Waste

Right Waste, Right Place: Businesses across the country are breaching waste law: a national survey by the ESA's Right Waste, Right Place campaign (RWRP), mainly focused on small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), has found that 48% of businesses don’t know where all their waste goes when it leaves site. Over a third also admitted to not being sure whether they completed or kept essential Waste Transfer Notes, a key requirement. Further, many were unsure on how to correctly classify all the waste materials they handled. RWRP has launched a campaign to help businesses understand what is expected of them. (6 September 2016)

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Environment Agency: Composting site operator fined £50,000 after breaching its permit: Cambridge Magistrates' Court has fined AmeyCespa (East) Ltd £50,000 and ordered it to pay £13,336 costs after the company pleaded guilty to breaching its environmental permit. The court heard that the company had failed to implement appropriate measures to reduce odour from its composting site and had also failed to submit an adequate odour management plan. This non-compliance had led to a nearby firm having such an increase in staff sickness rates that it eventually gave up its lease on the property, at a large penalty cost, and relocated. (21 September 2016)

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Food Waste

WRAP: €3.2m London project to target food waste prevention and recycling alongside healthy eating: reports that a new London-wide behaviour change initiative, TRiFOCAL London (Transforming City Food Habits for Life), has received EU funding to help Londoners save £330m, reduce avoidable food waste in the capital and increase awareness of more healthy and sustainable eating. (6 September 2016)

Unilever: Making food go further – A joint ambition for a zero food waste Britain: this paper outlines five key focus areas for tackling the issue of food waste and encourage more sustainable lifestyles. (12 September 2016)

Independent: The plan to make every single council in the UK collect food waste: reports that Rachael Maskell, the shadow Environment Secretary, has called for legislation to force councils to collect food waste. (19 September 2016)

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Litter and Fly-tipping

Environmental Services Association: Use Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) to clean our streets of litter: announces that the ESA intends to launch a new White Paper examining the role that extended producer responsibility (EPR) could play in tackling the significant cost to local authorities of clearing up litter. The White Paper will show that 30m tonnes of litter are collected in the UK each year costing local authorities £1bn. It will consider the merits of applying EPR to some of the common components of UK litter to transfer the cost of preventing and clearing up litter from the public to the private purse. (7 September 2016)

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Permitting and Licensing

Environment Agency: Regulating the waste industry – 2015 evidence summary: presents facts and statistics about the number of permits that the Environment Agency issued to the waste industry. It reports the amount of waste that was recycled, reused or sent to landfill. It also gives details of environmental consequences including: numbers of serious pollution incidents relating to the waste industry; the waste industry’s environmental performance; and facts about illegal waste. It notes that the way society manages waste has changed radically over the last 20 years. More waste is recycled and reused than ever before. This has brought significant environmental benefits, but the many new and innovative waste treatments now available may cause increased risk to the environment if not properly managed. The report explains how the Environment Agency is adapting its regulatory approach to manage these risks. (22 September 2016)

DEFRA: Review of local authority environmental regulation fees and charges: seeks views on a number of aspects of the local authority (LA) environmental regulation which impact on the level of regulatory activity required of LAs and whether the current level of fees and charges allow LAs to recover their costs. The consultation closes on 3 November 2016. (29 September 2016)

Environment Agency: Relevant conviction guidance for permit applications for waste activities and installations only: applicants for environmental permits must state in their application for an EPR permit for a Schedule 1 activity if they, or any other person, have been convicted of any relevant offence. This updated guidance gives information about convictions that are relevant to environmental permit applications. (14 September 2016)

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WRAP: A framework for greater consistency in household recycling in England: WRAP has developed a framework that offers local authorities the opportunity to increase recycling, improve the quality of recycled materials and offer a comprehensive service to householders. Drawing on local authority and industry good practice, it focuses on collaborative action to address recycling barriers at three key stages by: increasing the recyclability of packaging; reducing consumer confusion over what can and can’t be recycled; and working with local authorities to collect more of the core materials in one of three ways, all supported by widespread communications with householders using the same messages. (13 September 2016)

Serco: New poll shows nearly 30% of us could recycle more: a survey by Serco’s Environmental Services business and long-term research partner Future Thinking shows that nearly 3 in 10 people don’t recycle as much as they could, with 38% of those people citing confusing information on packaging or from local authorities as the reason. In response to the findings, Serco Environmental Services’ team is urging the waste industry to work together with local authorities, retailers and consumer goods manufacturers to standardise recycling communications and develop a simpler recycling labelling system for food and product packaging which is easier for consumers of all ages to understand. See also the summary of the survey. (12 September 2016)

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Waste Collection

Independent: Bin collection moves to once every four weeks in bid to encourage recycling: news item on how Conwy CBC is conducting a trial in which bins will only be emptied once a month in a bid to boost levels of recycling and to cut the council’s £1.75m annual bill for disposing of unnecessary waste in landfill sites. Recycling and food waste will still be collected weekly. (19 September 2016)

The Durham Company Ltd (t/a Max Recycle) v HM Revenue and Customs [2016] UKUT 417 (TCC): DC, which provided commercial waste collection services, applied for judicial review regarding the VAT exemption afforded to local authorities carrying out certain trade waste collection and disposal services. DC contended that the local authorities engaging in the activity of trade waste collection services were not doing so "as public authorities" within the meaning of Art.13(1) of the Principal VAT Directive, but that a local authority which had chosen effectively to "go into the business" of providing trade waste collection services, doing so in competition with private sector operators, was not thereby acting in its capacity as a local authority, but rather was engaging in an activity which was equally open to a private sector operator under essentially the same legal conditions.
The court held, dismissing the application, that where a local authority was making supplies of trade waste collection services to business customers in its area and did so in the performance of its duties under s.45(1)(b) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the supplies were “activities in which it is engaged as a public authority” within the meaning of s.41A(1) of the Value Added Tax Act 1994 and Art.13(1). Section 45(1)(b) EPA 1990 was, or at least was capable of being, a "special legal regime" as laid down by EU case law; whether any particular local authority was acting as a public authority would depend on the facts relevant to that local authority. The tribunal considered at length the legal regime governing the provision of commercial waste collection services by local authorities and the relevant charging powers. (19 September 2016)

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Waste Policy

Parliamentary Office of Science & Technology: Designing a circular economy: Circular economies recover resources at their highest quality and keep them in circulation for longer. Shifting to this model could alleviate concerns arising from current approaches to material use, such as resource insecurity and pollution. This POSTnote outlines what a circular economy could look like and summarises some of the benefits of, and challenges to, creating one. (26 September 2016)

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