ATF Professional talked to Matthew Kendall, an Environment and Business Advisor at the Environment Agency (EA) about his new role, how the EA will continue to work with the ELV industry and what changes will occur post-Brexit.
- As a new Environment & Business Advisor, could you provide a little bit about your background and why you have decided to accept the role?
I sit in the Waste Treatment, Transfer and Storage Team in Environment and Business. I started the advisor role in September 2019 and took on the lead for End of Life Vehicles (ELVs) in January. I have worked at the Environment Agency since 2003, focussing on the regulation of the waste management industry.
I have worked as a frontline compliance officer visiting a variety of waste sites over the years. These sites include landfills, composting and anaerobic digestion sites, waste transfer/treatment sites and of course metal recycling and ELV recycling sites. I have also participated in our incident response to a variety of pollution incidents. After 16 years I decided to look for a different challenge and applied for the role of Advisor, to see what it is like to work closer with the industry, other regulatory bodies and with different teams within the Environment Agency.
- As you become more accustomed to your role, what encourages you about the role the EA plays when it comes to the ELV industry and what challenges do you see?
My role is wide and diverse, part of my role focusses on the compliance performance of the permitted ELV industry. For permitted sites, our focus will continue to be on major incidents at ELV sites, particularly fires, which can have a significant impact on the environment and operators businesses.
Nobody wants a fire on their site, so finding out more about the causes of fires and sharing good practice and lessons learnt will be a priority for this year. Depollution of ELVs and consignment of hazardous wastes will be a focus during our compliance activity and we will also continue assessing compliance with the technical competence requirements. I will work closely with colleagues leading on illegal ELV activities.
I also work on our Modernising Waste Regulation Panel (MWRP) who manage our regulatory positions and low risk waste positions. I have started to become involved with our work with the fridge recycling sector and technical competence.
- We know that the EA likes to work closely with the ELV industry, how can those involved with it get to meet you to share their experiences and ideas?
As stated previously, my remit is wide but all being well the Environment Agency will be at CARS in June and the BVSF convention later in the year. I will also be participating in regular ELV consultation group meetings hosted by DEFRA. Trade Associations representing the ELV Sector attend these meetings.
- Are there any issues that need to be considered as we enter a new decade and the process of leaving Europe begins?
From 1st February until 31st December 2020 the UK is in a transition period. The Environment Agency will continue to implement and enforce EU environmental law, just as we did before. For operators importing and exporting waste and salvaged parts from 1st January 2021 they should refer to the guidance on Gov.UK HERE
Away from EU Exit, as we move towards 2035 the next decade will see increasing numbers of electric vehicles being sold to help meet Government targets for reducing CO2 emissions and tackling climate change. This will inevitably lead to more end of life electric vehicles and vehicle recyclers will need to manage the associated environmental and health and safety risks as a result. We want to work with the industry to make sure the transition to electric vehicles minimises the risks to the environment.
- What do you see as the most important issues that will be taking place in the next twelve months when it comes to your role and what guidance do we expect to see coming from you and your department?
As a forward look, DEFRA is working on changes to waste exemptions as a result of their waste crime consultation. We are progressing a consultation on changes to the attendance requirements for technically competent managers (TCMs) and looking at the data we are receiving on sites TCMs which operators are now required to report to us. My role is also internally facing, so I will be working with our metals recycling sector group and providing internal training and guidance to our staff on areas such as depollution and electric vehicles.