Fortnightly Bulletin – 15th January 2024
16 January 2024
Operating a schedule 25B, trance B specified generator for research and development: RPS 220
The Environment Agency enforcement position on when you can operate a specified generator with one or more trance B generators for research and development testing.
The Environment Agency intends to withdraw this RPS on 31 December 2025 and advises to check back to see if it still applies or if you need to apply for an environmental permit or take appropriate alternative action.
This Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) does not change your legal requirement to get an environmental permit when you operate a specified generator with one or more tranche B generators, for research and development testing.
However, the Environment Agency will not normally take enforcement action when you do this without getting an environmental permit if you comply with the requirements in this RPS. This enforcement position does not apply to any other legal requirements.
Storing cans of waste paint collected by take-back schemes: RPS 267
The Environment Agency’s RPS on temporary storage of cans of waste paint collected through manufacturer, wholesaler or retailer take-back schemes. The RPS applies to the temporary storage and visual sorting of cans of waste paint (EWC waste codes 20 01 28 and 20 01 27*).
However, the Environment Agency will not normally take enforcement action if you do not comply with this legal requirement if you meet the requirements in the RPS. The regulatory position does not apply to any other legal requirements.
Pollution prevention for businesses
The install and oil separator section of the guidance has been updated to inform that, from the 1st of January 2021, it has been a legal requirement for oil separators supplied in England, Wales and Scotland to be fitted with an automatic warning device or high-level alarm.
Air emissions risk assessment for your environmental permit
The guidance was published in 2016. Updates were made in November 2023, regarding Environmental Assessment Levels (EAL) for emissions to air, and in December 2023, regarding grouping air emissions to explain what to do if you release volatile organic compounds into the air.
November’s update is on the review of EAL’s for emission to air which have been updated as follows: acrylamide, butadiene, cadmium, chromium III, copper, ethylene oxide, hydrogen chloride, hydrogen cyanide, mercury, methyl chloride (chloromethane), methylene chloride (dichloromethane), nickel and selenium.
December’s update is the update for grouping air emissions if you release volatile organic compounds into the air, you should provide details of all emissions. If you cannot identify what all the substances in them are, treat the unknowns as 100% benzene in your risk assessment. If you want to treat them as something else, you will need to explain why.
Method Implementation Document (MID) for BS 4142
MID was first published March 2023, the December 2023 update states that the guidance now applies to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The MID explains how to use ‘BS 4142 Method for rating and assessing industrial and commercial sound’ when monitoring sound for environmental permits.
The guidance is to help holders and potential holders of permits and is a requirement if you are:
- applying to the environment agencies for a new environmental permit or applying to vary an existing permit,
- sending sound monitoring and assessments to the environment agencies – you must also follow the requirements of BS 4142 and the guidance Noise and vibration management: environmental permits.
S2 waste exemption: storing waste in a secure place
The guidance has been updated to clarify the conditions for waste electrical and electronic equipment storage.
Waste exemptions are changing, and this will affect anyone who carries out a waste exemption activity. Defra has published its consultation supplementary response document and associated annexes explaining these changes. It sets out which exemptions will be withdrawn or restricted. S2 is one of the waste exemptions that will be affected. Timescales have not been finalised yet.
Pollution inventory reporting: general and sector guidance
The Environment Agency has updated the Food and Drink sector guidance. The pollution inventory is to report releases and transfers from industrial activities that the Environment Agency regulates.
You must report to the pollution inventory if you:
- operate under a part A(1) environmental permit and have received a notice under Regulation 61(1) of the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) 2016 or Regulation 60 of the EPR 2010,
- operate a sewage treatment works with a capacity at, or over, 100,000 population equivalents,
- run an opencast mine or quarry with a surface area over 25 hectares, or an underground mine and related operation (no capacity threshold),
- dispose of radioactive waste to air, water or sewers covered by a permit issued under EPR 2016 or EPR 2010.
The pollution inventory reporting collection page gives information about the Pollution Inventory Electronic Data Capture (PIEDC) system and other forms you can use to submit your data.
Extended producer responsibility for packaging: who is affected and what to do
The guidance is to help organisations that supply or import packaging and should comply with Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for packaging.
The EPR for packaging fees have been deferred for a year, 2024. However, EPR’s must still follow the guidance and report packaging data for 2023. EPR’s must also continue to pay any fees due under previous regulations.
Packaging data: what to collect for extended producer responsibility Wales
The guidance has been updated and includes a specific date from which to report data in Wales.
Organisations in Wales can comply with this reporting schedule if they have the required data. If you do not have it, you must record and report all your data from 17 July 2023. If you only report data that covers a period starting from 17 July, this will be used to calculate a full year’s worth of data.
Articles of Interest
2023 confirmed as world’s hottest year on record
2023 has been confirmed as the warmest on record, driven by human-caused climate change and boosted by the natural El Nino weather event.
More than 200 days saw a new daily global temperature record for the time of year, according to BBC analysis of Copernicus Climate Change Service data.
UK weather: 2023 was second warmest year on record, says Met Office
Last year was the UK’s second warmest on record, according to provisional data from the Met Office.
This puts it just behind 2022, which recorded an average temperature of only 0.06C higher.
For both Wales and Northern Ireland, 2023 was their hottest year on record.
The national weather service said climate change has made the high temperatures “significantly more likely”.
Government reforms set to spark greater reuse and recycling of electrical goods
Government will make it easier for people and businesses to reuse and recycle their old electrical goods.
Shocking statistics show an estimated 155,000 tonnes of smaller household electricals such as cables, toasters, kettles and power tools are wrongly thrown in the bin each year. UK homes are thought to hoard a further 527 million unwanted electrical items containing valuable materials such as gold, silver and platinum.
The waste generated during the festive period demonstrates the scale of the problem: 500 tonnes of Christmas lights are discarded every year in the UK.
To power the transition to a circular economy, government proposals unveiled today will change how we all dispose of electrical equipment, both large and small, ensuring retailers can turn old goods into new wares.
The move builds on the major steps already taken by the Government this year to clamp down on plastic pollution and clean up our streets.
A range of measures are proposed within the joint UK Government, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and Northern Ireland Executive consultation for introduction from 2026, including:
- UK-wide collections of waste electricals directly from households – saving the public from having to trek to distant electrical disposal points. The collections would be financed by producers of electrical items, not the taxpayer, and not necessarily require any further bins.
- Large retailers rolling out collection drop points for electrical items in-store, free of charge, without the need to buy a replacement product.
- Retailers and online sellers taking on responsibility for collecting unwanted or broken large electrical items such as fridges or cookers when delivering a replacement.
The proposals will mean consumers will be able to recycle their goods during their weekly shop or without even leaving the house.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is set to work closely with manufacturers, major retailers and small and medium enterprises throughout the consultation period to ensure the most efficient and accessible options become a reality.
Prosecutions and Fines
Ten-month custodial sentence for man operating illegal waste site
The director of three illegal waste sites in the East Midlands was successfully prosecuted. The director was given a ten-month custodial sentence and disqualified as a director for seven years. The director had previously admitted three offences of operating a waste facility without an environmental permit.
A major fire had broken out at a site near Walesby in north Nottinghamshire on 21 September 2016. It took the Fire Service over a month to put out. The fire was not fully extinguished until the 7 November 2016. At this site, the director had rented two former poultry production units telling farm officials that the director wanted to store clean plastics. The fire completely destroyed the two poultry units which resulted in the landowner incurring clear up costs of £478,000.
At the same hearing, a waste depositor from Willenhall, admitted depositing waste at the three sites. They received a six-month custodial sentence which was suspended for 18 months and ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work. The Environment Agency gained CCTV pictures from the Walesby site which showed the waste depositor visiting the site thirteen times from the end of August into September 2016.
Company makes charity payment for recycling failure
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has received a financial boost after the Environment Agency accepted an Enforcement Undertaking (EU) offer from a company.
An Enforcement Undertaking was accepted to address breaches of environmental legislation. The Staffordshire environment to benefit from the Environment Agency’s response to the company’s failure to meet packaging recycling obligations
The Staffordshire Wildlife Trust’s Craddock’s Moss project has received a £14,700 financial boost after the Environment Agency accepted an Enforcement Undertaking (EU) offer from a company based in Stone, Staffordshire.
The payment is part of an EU offered by the company for its failure to register as a packaging producer and take steps to recover and recycle its packaging waste under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007.
Big Garden Birdwatch
26th – 28th January 2024
The Big Garden Birdwatch is the world’s largest garden wildlife survey. To take part, click on the link below to register.
Navigating the future: key trends and topics shaping the resources and waste industry in 2024
24th January 2024 10:00am-11:00am
SUEZ are holding an online event on 24th January 2024 looking at the resources and waste industry.
2024 will see the waste sector face a combination of policy shifts, stricter regulations, and innovative approaches, presenting a landscape of challenges and opportunities. This evolution is re-shaping how waste is managed, demanding adaptability to overcome challenges and seize the prospects for positive change. Two crucial questions: Do we have the knowledge to understand upcoming changes? and is the sector sufficiently equipped to face the challenges that accompany them?
The Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) policy and the Simpler Recycling reform are just some aspects which must be considered. These changes will have a widespread impact on organisations across various sectors. Whether you are part of a private company or a local council, readiness is vital.
Source: Society for the Environment (SocEnv)