Government responded to the consultation entitled ‘Reducing crime at sites handling waste, and introducing fixed penalties for waste duty of care’. It received 275 responses having run from 15th January to 26th March 2018.
The consultation seeked views on measures to reduce waste crime and poor performance at waste sites and introduced a fixed penalty to discourage household waste being fly-tipped.
Government wanted to know what you thought about their proposals to reduce crime and poor performance in the waste sector by enforcing more appropriate competence standards for permitted waste site operators. They also proposed to make changes to waste exemptions to prevent them being used to hide illegal activity.
Within the summary of their response on operator competence they ‘intend to amend the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 to require all regulated facilities that undertake waste operations to be managed and operated in accordance with a written management system, which identifies and minimises the risks of pollution arising from the waste operation.’ They also ‘intend to introduce an amendment in the waste returns so waste operators must notify the regulators of their Technical Competence Management arrangements at their waste site’.
They intend ‘to amend the Environmental Permitting Core Guidance to widen the scope of offences, behaviour and relevant persons that the regulator can take account of when assessing competence’.
Further legislation is ‘intended for next year to clarify the legal requirement for technical competence and introduce a de-registration system for technical competence’. They will also consult on specific financial provision options in 2019, with the aim to include that in the same legislation.
From these responses, ‘Government continue to consider the precise technical changes to exemptions requirements proposed in the original consultation. The consultation reinforced the clear need to reform the 10 most problematic exemptions in order to prevent their use to cover illegal activity.’ (See article on Independent review into serious and organised crime in the waste sector). ‘This needs to be done in a way that does not overly impact legitimate activities. A supplementary government response setting out their approach to exemptions will be published in due course.’
The ‘proposed fixed penalty notice (FPN) for breaches of the household waste duty of care will be introduced. This will be done through legislation in England this year and in Wales early next year. The FPN will provide authorities with an alternative enforcement option to prosecuting offenders through the courts.’
They also issued a supplementary consultation on updating the Waste Duty of Care Code of Practice to provide more detail on meeting the household waste duty of care, and new guidance for local authorities in England on use of the FPN. The code of practice and guidance, published alongside this government response, have been further amended based on responses received.
BMRA stated in a recent article about the response, “We are concerned that there is seemingly no appetite to carry out a root and branch review of the waste carrier, broker or dealer licencing system. Currently, unlike the scrap metal dealer licencing system, there are few checks and balances made into those people applying for a waste carrier, broker or dealer licence. Neither is the fee commensurate with the responsibility that the waste carrier, broker or dealer will have placed on them. This could have been an ideal opportunity for Government to capture information that would allow it to better understand those people operating as a waste carrier, broker or dealer. It may also have made it easier to identify those operators that repeatedly collect, store and then abandon sites.”
The Environmental Services Association (ESA), Head of Regulation, Sam Corp said of the response (add link to pdf), “It is encouraging to see the Government’s continuing commitment to tackling crime and poor performance in the waste sector, and this response points to a number of initial plans which should start the process of tightening up operator and technical competence at permitted facilities and should help to discourage operators who do not have the resources, the experience or the intention to operate within the law. Whilst we would have liked to have seen more detail on some key areas, such as reform to the carriers, brokers, dealers and exemptions regimes, perhaps it is not surprising that this detail has yet to emerge at a time when Brexit related matters seem to be demanding so much of Civil servants’ time”.
To read the full Government response click here