Waste Watch – November / December 2017

Government and EU policy and legal developments in England and Wales relevant to those interested in waste management


Nadeem Arshad

Nadeem Arshad


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:

    Enforcement    Permitting and Licensing
    Environmental Protection    Recycling
    Food Waste    Waste Management
    Health and Safety    Waste Policy
    Packaging Waste    WEEE


Environment Agency: Waste crime interventions and evaluation: this report evaluates the impact of an additional £5m in funding to tackle waste crime. Rogue operators undercut legitimate business, evade landfill tax and have a negative impact on people and the environment. The project was set up to tackle three priority outcome areas: reducing the risk from illegal waste sites, reducing the misdescription of waste and reducing the illegal export of waste. The impact evaluation findings show that the Agency’s activities in tackling waste crime have a net positive effect on both people and the environment, but also offer good value for money to the taxpayer. (1 December 2017)

Buckinghamshire CC: Firm fined £6,000 as part of massive Handy Cross dumping incident: reports that High Wycombe Magistrates have fined a property management company £5,000 and ordered it to pay £936 compensation and prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £76, after the company pleaded guilty to offences relating to waste dumped illegally on former sports centre land. Part of the waste was found to have originated from refurbishment work on a children’s nursery in North London. The company had failed to make sufficient checks of the third party waste carrier which had been used to remove the waste from the nursery refurbishment job. (15 November 2017)

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Environmental Protection

DEFRA: Environment Secretary sets out plans to enhance environmental standards: this article by the environment Secretary Michael Gove, sets out plans to consult on a new, independent body for environmental standards. He announces that in the New Year he will be consulting on establishing a on a new independent, statutory body to advise and challenge government and potentially other public bodies on environmental legislation,  and to hold these bodies to account and enforce standards. The consultation will also explore the scope and content of a new policy statement to ensure that environmental principles underpin policy making. (12 November 2017)

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Food Waste

Government Office for Science: Food waste – A response to the policy challenge: this report discusses why the UK should care about food waste and what the benefits and costs of food waste reduction are. It also considers, how, in simple policy terms, food waste reduction can be achieved. The paper was developed as a result of seminars and the advice of experts. (14 December 2017)

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Health and Safety

HSE: Health and safety in the waste sector in Great Britain, 2017: provides a profile of workplace health and safety for workers in the waste sector. The findings show that within the waste sector, 6,000 people suffered from a work-related illness each year of the past five years, while nine people were struck by a moving vehicles, seven were killed by contact with machinery and six died after being struck by an object. (1 November 2017)

ESA: Policy Briefing – ESA’s focus on health and safety performance in the waste and resource management industry: comments on the HSE's latest statistics, noting that the figures point to a much higher than average injury rate for the waste industry. Injuries decreased by little over 3% and unfortunately the headline figures remain largely unchanged from previous years with too many people continuing to be killed or harmed by the industry’s activities. It calls for a more holistic and collaborative approach to improve health, safety and protection of the environment for the benefit of the wider sector, the public and the collective workforce. (1 November 2017)

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Packaging Waste

Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/1221): these regulations, which come into force on 1 January 2018, amend SI 2007/871 by setting new packaging waste recycling targets for paper, steel, aluminium and wood and new overall packaging waste recovery and recycling targets from 2018 to 2020. (7 December 2017)

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Permitting and Licensing

Environment Agency: Environment Agency charge proposals from April 2018: seeks views on proposals to make changes to a number of the Agency's charging schemes, setting charges for the period 2018-2023. The changes proposed aim to sustain and improve its customer services and regulatory activity, move to full cost recovery for its work, implement a simpler, fairer and more transparent charges scheme and deal with elevated environmental risks. In particular, the proposals simplify the way customers work out their charges for regimes within the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 so that the new system will be much the same for everyone. In addition, to ensure that there is a mechanism to recover the cost of activities over and above expected levels, it proposes to enable charging for this work on a time and materials basis. For customers wishing to receive additional services for advice and guidance, the Agency will also charge them on a time and materials basis. The aim is to ensure that everyone pays for the service they receive, which will cause some changes in costs for some businesses. The consultation closes on 26 January 2018. (30 November 2017)

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WRAP: Greater consistency in household recycling – Summary of local authority business cases: WRAP published the Framework for Greater Consistency in Household Recycling in England in September 2016, which set out a vision for greater consistency in household recycling. As part of the published 5-point Action Plan, WRAP supported seven groups of local authorities to evaluate the local business case for adopting the consistency Framework, testing the findings of the national modelling. This document summarises the findings of a review of the seven pilot projects. The outputs of this review have helped inform an ongoing programme of support for local authorities considering changes to their service provision. (21 November 2017)

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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

LetsRecycle: Data security concerns ‘hampering’ WEEE recycling: reports that a survey by WEEE producer compliance scheme Repic of people's habits in disposing of WEEE, found that 69% of those surveyed had concerns about their personal data security being breached, with up to a third suggesting that they would be more likely to keep hold of old electrical items as a consequence. (13 November 2017)

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Waste Management

DEFRA: Statistics on waste managed by local authorities in England in 2016 to 2017: the latest statistical release shows that the official England waste from households recycling rate for 2016 was 44.9%, up 0.7 percentage points from the previous year. However, most of this increase results from a change in policy so that the recycling measure now includes metal recovered and recycled after incineration (IBA metal). Total waste from households in England increased by 2.5% in 2016 to 22.8m tonnes, up from 22.2m tonnes in 2015. (5 December 2017)

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Waste Policy

European Council: Council and Parliament reach provisional agreement on new EU waste rules: announces that the European Parliament and Council have reached agreement on revised waste legislative proposals and a circular economy package that establish binding waste reduction targets and updated rules to decrease waste generation, ensure a better control of waste management, encourage the reuse of products and improve recycling in all EU countries. The measures include new binding waste reduction targets to be met by 2025 and 2030, and 2035 that cover the share of municipal waste and packaging waste recycling, and also a target for municipal waste landfilled by 2035. There are also stricter requirements for the separate collection of waste, reinforced implementation of the waste hierarchy through economic instruments and additional measures for member states to prevent waste generation. Details of the agreed targets have not yet been published. (18 December 2017)

DEFRA: Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs single departmental plan: sets out DEFRA's objectives and how it will achieve them. Objective 2 is "A cleaner, healthier environment, benefiting people and the economy", which includes the aim of ensuring greater resource efficiency and reduced waste crime. DEFRA will achieve this by: 

  • developing and publishing a consultation to take forward measures from the 2015 call for evidence on waste crime; deliver any resultant regulatory changes; 
  • reducing the number of high risk illegal waste sites; 
  • delivering commitments in the National Litter Strategy for England; 
  • supporting comprehensive rubbish collection and recycling, and better packaging. 

(14 December 2017)

Green Alliance: A new direction for UK resource strategy after Brexit: this policy insight looks at how DEFRA can manage the divergence from existing EU waste and resource governance and create new policies after Brexit. It recommends that the UK maintains waste policy principles, co-operation on eco-design standards and access to the REACH regime, alongside introducing new targets to increase resource efficiency, mandatory food waste collections and extended producer responsibility. The report was produced on behalf of the Circular Economy Task Force, a business forum for ambitious thinking on resource efficiency. (30 November 2017)

Government Office for Science: From waste to resource productivity: this report explores how we can treat waste as a valuable resource and use new technology and approaches to get the most from it in the UK. The report brings together evidence on waste from a range of industry, academic and government sources. (14 December 2017)

HL EU Energy and Environment Committee: Letter to Therese Coffey MP – UK's trade in waste: the Committee has written to the Parliamentary Under Secretary for the Environment outlining concerns raised at a roundtable discussion on the potential impact of Brexit on the UK's trade in waste. (30 November 2017)

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