Waste Watch – September / October 2017

Brief details of legal and policy developments in England and Wales relevant to those interested in municipal waste management

01/11/2017

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 municipal 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:

    Enforcement    Regulation
    Food Waste    Transport of Waste
    Landfill Tax    Waste Collection
    Litter and Fly-tipping    Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE)
    Packaging Waste    Waste Management
    Recycling    Waste Policy

Enforcement

Environment Agency: Bristol company fined for hazardous waste offences: reports that Bristol Crown Court has fined a waste company a total of £22,450 plus costs for four offences under the Environmental Permitting Regulations and ss.33 & 36 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 after it supplied thousands of tonnes of hazardous waste to a development site. In addition, two directors were each found guilty of three offences and given suspended sentences plus ordered to pay £10,000 costs. (3 October 2017)

Environment Agency: Sunderland firm fined for waste offences: reports that Sunderland Magistrates' Court has fined a Sunderland-based waste firm £3,335 and ordered it to pay £5,394 compensation plus £6,000 costs, after it was found guilty of filing to comply with its waste duty of care under s.34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. (27 September 2017)

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Food Waste

DEFRA: Food waste in England – Government Response to the Committee’s Eighth Report of Session 2016–17: sets out the Government's response to the Committee's report, which concluded that the Government should establish a national food waste reduction target to drive efforts to reduce the food waste costing the average person in the UK £200 per year. The response sets out action that the Government is taking to reduce food waste from households and businesses. It states that the Courtauld 2025 agreement already includes a target of 20% reduction in food and drink waste arising in the UK, and that signatories have a further target to double the amount of food surplus they send for redistribution by 2020. The Government does not consider that introducing further targets would be proportionate. (17 October 2017)

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Landfill Tax

HM Treasury: Landfill Tax – Disposals not made at landfill sites: this measure, which takes effect from 1 April 2018, extends the scope of Landfill Tax to disposals made at sites without an environmental disposal permit, and brings clarity to what material is taxable at sites that do have a permit. It deters non-compliance by making the illegal disposal of waste less profitable, and reinforce the principle of 'the polluter pays'. The forthcoming Finance Bill will include changes to Part III of the Finance Act 1996 that include disposals at sites without an environmental disposal permit (but which ought to have) within the charge to Landfill Tax. It will also introduce changes to what constitutes a taxable disposal for Landfill Tax purposes. (13 September 2017)

Landfill Disposals Tax (Wales) Act 2017: this Act has received Royal Assent and comes into force in Wales on a day to be appointed.  The Act provides for the establishment of a Landfill Disposals Tax (LDT), which will replace Landfill Tax in Wales from April 2018. (7 September 2017)
The Welsh Government has announced that for the first two years of LDT, the standard and lower rates will remain consistent with those for landfill tax, so as to provide certainty and stability for businesses and reduce the risk of waste moving across the Wales-England border. The new standard rate for LDT will be set at £88.95/tonne in 2018/19 and £2.80 for the lower rate. (3 October 2017)

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Litter and Fly-tipping

DEFRA: New steps to tackle littering announced: announces that maximum on the spot litter fines are to increase from £80 to £150 from April 2018. The minimum fine will increase from £50 to £65, and the default fine will increase from £75 to £100. In addition, councils will be able to impose these fines on the owners of vehicles from which litter is thrown, even if it was discarded by someone else. DEFRA will issue guidance around the beginning of 2018 to ensure the new powers are used in a fair and proportionate way by local authorities. (24 October 2017)

DEFRA: Fly-tipping statistics for England, 2016/17: summarises the number and type of incidents of illegally deposited waste, the cost of dealing with them and the actions taken against fly tipping in England in the past year. The figures show that there was a 7% increase in the number of fly-tipping incidents that local authorities dealt with. The estimated cost of clearance for fly-tipping to local authorities in England in 2016/17 was £57.7m and the number of fixed penalty notices issued increased by 56% to 56,000. (19 October 2017)

Unauthorised Deposit of Waste (Fixed Penalties) (Wales) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/1024(W.262)): these regulations, which come into force on 25 October 2017, insert a new s.33ZB into Part II (Waste on Land) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to enable an authorised officer of a Welsh waste collection authority to issue a fixed penalty notice for contravention of s.33(1)(a) of the Act in the authority's area. (24 October 2017)

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Packaging Waste

DEFRA: Call for evidence on voluntary and economic incentives to reduce littering of drinks containers and promote recycling: seeks views on how reward and return schemes for drinks containers could work in England. It looks at the advantages and disadvantages of different types of reward and return schemes for plastic, metal and glass drinks containers. The consultation closes on 30 October 0217. (2 October 2017)

Keep Britain Tidy: Impacts of a deposit refund system for one-way beverage packaging on local authority waste services: this research report finds that local authorities across England could save up to £35m every year if a deposit refund system for drinks containers was introduced in England. Analysis of data across eight local authorities, including those with high and low recycling rates, found that rather than losing income, the individual authorities could potentially make savings of between £60,000 and £500,000. The report finds that local authorities would lose some income as there would be a reduced number of cans and plastic bottles in the kerbside collections to sell to recyclers. However, the savings made from having fewer containers to collect and sort, as well as reduced levels of littering and reduced landfill charges would actually create savings that outweighed the loss of revenue.
LARAC has urged caution in the rush for Deposit Return Schemes in the UK – believes that funds should be pushed into the existing kerbside collection infrastructure and this would deliver a bigger increase in the overall recycling rate at a more effective cost. (11 October 2017)

WRAP: Supporting consistency in household recycling in England – Improving the recyclability of packaging through tackling packaging formats: WRAP's Packaging Working Group, chaired by the Co-operative Food Group, has drawn up a list of key issues in packaging design to be tackled, as part of the Consistency Programme. (9 October 2017)

HC Environmental Audit Committee: Disposable packaging – Coffee cups and plastic bottles: the Environmental Audit Committee is relaunching its predecessor’s inquiry into Disposable Coffee Cups and Plastic Bottles. Fewer than less than 1 in 400 disposable coffee cups, and only 57% of all plastic bottles, are recycled. The inquiry will look at the damage being done to the environment by disposable drinks packaging, focusing on the impact of plastic bottles and coffee cups. It ill investigate what actions are being untaken by industry and Government to reduce waste generated by coffee cups and plastic bottles, and possible solutions. The closing date for written submissions was 29 September 2017. (14 September 2017)

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Recycling

WRAP: Recycling Tracking Survey 2017 – Behaviours, attitudes and awareness around recycling: this annual recycling analysis compares respondents’ self-reported recycling behaviour to the known kerbside service provision in their area, in order to understand householders’ behaviour, knowledge and attitudes to recycling in the context of the services to which they have access. The latest survey finds that just over half of UK households dispose of one or more items in the general rubbish that is in fact collected for recycling in their area, while 76% add one or more item to their recycling collection that is not accepted locally. Over half the UK population would like to know more about what their recycling gets turned into, and while understanding the importance of food waste recycling and what happens to recycled food once collected has increased, awareness still lags behind dry recycling. (25 September 2017)

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Regulation

National Resources Wales: Consultation on our Charging Scheme for 2018-19: seeks views on proposed fees and charges for 2018/19. The consultation closes on 16 January 2018. The statutory schemes will then be submitted to Welsh Government for approval with the aim of introducing the new scheme from 1 April 2018. (9 October 2017)

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Transport of Waste

Environment Agency: Better co-ordination to stop illegal waste carriers: announces that the Environment Agency and Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency have signed a Memorandum of Understanding agreeing to carry out joint operations across England to cut the transportation of illegal waste and to improve road safety. The two bodies will use their combined enforcement powers to tackle the transportation of waste to illegal or poorly-performing permitted sites and to target unsafe drivers and vehicles. (12 September 2017)

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Waste Collection

WRAP: Collection of food and drink cartons at the kerbside – Guidance for local authorities and waste contractors: this guide provides information on the economic, operational, environmental and policy aspects of kerbside carton collections so that officers can make informed decisions on the best way to handle and market this material for effective recycling. The advice given is based on observations of local authorities with existing carton collection and sorting systems, as well as interviews carried out with local authorities and other waste carton stakeholders. It is part of WRAP's Framework for Greater Consistency in Household Recycling in England which includes cartons as one of the eight materials to be collected by local authorities. (9 October 2017)

Environment Agency: Storing waste sandbags at collection sites after a flood (RPS 168): this regulatory position statement (RPS) is for local authorities who need to set up temporary collection sites for discarded sandbags after a flood. If they comply with the conditions in this RPS they do not need to apply for an environmental permit. (5 October 2017)

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Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

DEFRA: UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations 2013 – Consultation on proposed amendments: seeks views on amendments to SI 2013/3113 in order to implement the WEEE Directive 2012/19 requirements to introduce "Open Scope" in which all items of electrical and electronic equipment would in future fall within the product scope of the regulations unless subject to a specific exemption or exclusion. It also proposes some other regulatory amendments. The consultation closes on 8 December 2017. (23 October 2017)

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Waste Management

DEFRA: Waste management 2016 summary: graphs and tables summarising permitted waste management activities.  (September 2017)

Welsh Government: Local authority municipal waste management 2016-17: the final recycling figures for 2016/17 show the average combined reuse, recycling and composting rate across Welsh local authorities was 64%, an increase of 4 percentage points on last year’s final figure and 59 percentage points higher than the rate in 1998/99, when the data was first collected following devolution. It is also 6 percentage points higher then the current statutory recycling target of 58%. (19 October 2017)

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Waste Policy

London Assembly Environment Committee: Waste – The circular economy: examines how a circular economy could offer a solution to the problem of an unsustainable waste management model in the capital and strengthen London’s economy at a time of uncertainty. The report finds that that by adopting a circular model for its waste, London could: reduce 60 per cent of its waste by 2041; put London “on track” to become carbon-neutral; create 12,000 new jobs by 2030; and provide £7bn net benefit to London’s economy. The Mayor needs to take a visible lead in pushing the circular economy model forward and must ensure organisations in the GLA Group to procure goods and services in line with its principles. (21 September 2017)

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