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:
|Definition of Waste||Packaging Waste|
|Enforcement||Permitting and Licensing|
|Litter and Fly-tipping||Waste Policy|
Environment Agency: Definition of Waste service: the Environment Agency is introducing a new discretionary Definition of Waste service from June 2018 that will provide formal opinions on the waste status of material. Customers will pay an initial fee of £750 when they submit a request for a definition of waste opinion. The Environment Agency will then provide a cost estimate of further work needed to complete a full technical and legal assessment. Producers can first use the Definition of Waste Service checklist along with the IsItWaste tool to assess whether their waste derived material can be classed as non-waste so is outside of waste controls. (3 April 2018)
Environment Agency: New powers to crack down on waste crime: announces that the Agency now has new powers under the Waste Enforcement (England and Wales) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/369), including the ability to lock up sites and force rogue operators to clean up all waste. In addition, all waste enforcement officers will be equipped with body-worn video cameras on their visits to waste sites. Natural Resources Wales also has these new powers. The new regulations give waste regulation authorities and waste collection authorities in England and Wales the power by notice to require waste from a site to be removed where it has been unlawfully kept or disposed of, including waste that was initially lawfully deposited. They also give the Environment Agency and Natural Resource Body for Wales the power, by notice or by application to court for an order, to restrict access and the importation of waste to premises. (29 March 2018)
Landfill Tax (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/396): these regulations, which come into force on 1 April 2018, amend SI 1996/1527 in order to make those regulations compatible with the extension of liability to Landfill Tax to unauthorised sites. They make definitional and other minor consequential changes, including provision to ensure that no credit to Landfill Tax is available where material disposed of at an authorised landfill site in England or Northern Ireland is required to be removed, unless that removal is to another authorised site in any part of the UK. They also provide for certain disposals of material made at unauthorised landfill sites to be exempt from the extension of Landfill Tax to such sites otherwise effected by amendments made to the Finance Act 1996 by the Finance Act 2018. (23 March 2018)
DEFRA: Government crackdown on litter louts: reports that the maximum on-the-spot fine for littering and graffiti has increased from £80 to £150; in addition, local authorities can use these littering penalties against vehicle owners if it can be proved litter was thrown from their car. The new penalties are introduced by the Environmental Offences (Fixed Penalties) (England) Regulations 2017 (SI 2017/1050) and the Littering From Vehicles Outside London (Keepers: Civil Penalties) Regulations 2018 (SI 2018/171). (1 April 2018)
DEFRA: Litter Innovation Fund – Government backs new community projects: announces the award of funding from the first round of the Litter Innovation Fund. A number of councils, charities and businesses will share almost £125,000 for projects that take innovative steps to tackle littering in their communities. The successful projects include developing bins to prevent seagulls from scattering litter on beaches and working with river users to reduce plastic getting into rivers. (9 March 2018)
DEFRA: Deposit return scheme in fight against plastic: announces that the Government is to introduce a deposit return scheme in England for single use drinks containers. It will launch a consultation later this year that will look at the details of how such a scheme would work, alongside other measures to increase recycling rates. This initiative will form part of a package of wider reforms of the current packaging waste system, which will incentivise producers to take greater responsibility for the environmental impacts of their products and to increase the amount of packaging they recycle. (28 March 2018)
HM Treasury: Tackling the plastic problem – Using the tax system or charges to address single-use plastic waste: HMT has issued a call for evidence on how changes to the tax system or charges could be used to reduce the amount of single-use plastics waste in order to deliver better environmental outcomes. Specifically, the Government would like to understand how further economic incentives can be effective in continuing to reduce waste from single-use plastics by reducing unnecessary production, increasing reuse, and improving recycling. Alongside this, the Government would like to explore how the same economic incentives can drive innovation, e.g. by stimulating businesses to develop and integrate new technology, or by encouraging growth in the recycling industry by addressing barriers to investment. The closing date for submissions is 18 May 2018. (13 March 2018)
HC Environmental Audit Committee: Disposable packaging – Coffee cups: Government’s Response to the Committee’s Second Report: the Committee notes that the Government in its response has refused to take any decisive action on the complex issue of coffee cups, including the suggested introduction of a 'latte levy', and has instead chosen to rely on voluntary commitments. The Committee recommended that the Government introduce a producer responsibility system that raises the cost on cups which are difficult to recycle and reduces fees for easily recycled cups. The Government's response acknowledges the need for reforming the system, but sets out no actions. The Committee has now asked the National Audit Office to assess whether Government has good oversight of the PRN scheme's performance against its objectives, and whether government has taken a robust approach to preventing fraud and non-compliance. (9 March 2018)
Environment Agency: Environmental Permitting Charging Scheme: sets out the charges for activities that require a permit or registered exemption from the Environment Agency under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016. The new charging scheme sets out a more financially-sustainable model that reflects the amount of regulatory effort needed at a site and will allow the Environment Agency to invest further in its permitting service.
There is also a separate Waste – Miscellaneous Charging Scheme that covers: Waste electrical and electronic equipment; Waste batteries and accumulators; Waste carriers, brokers and dealers; International waste shipments; and Transfrontier shipment of radioactive waste and spent fuel.
The Agency has published guidance on the EPCS. (21 March 2018)
DEFRA: UK statistics on waste: annual statistics report on waste produced at a UK level in 2016, including Waste from Households 2010-16, Biodegradable Municipal Waste (BMW) to landfill, and Commercial and Industrial waste generation. It notes that the UK recycling rate for Waste from Households was 45.2% in 2016, slightly short of the EU target to recycle at least 50% of household waste by 2020. In 2016, 71.4% of UK packaging waste was either recycled or recovered, which exceeds the EU target of 60%. The amount of BMW sent to landfill in 2016 has remained at approximately 7.7m tonnes or 22% of the 1995 baseline value. (22 February 2018)
UK Parliament: March EU Environment Council – Written Statement: Dr Thérèse Coffey, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Environment, has updated Parliament on the EU Environment Council's meeting in Brussels on 5 March 2018. The matters discussed included the European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, the Monitoring Framework for the Circular Economy and implementation of the Circular Economy package. (16 March 2018)