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Fortnightly Bulletin – 25th March 2024

25 March 2024

Emissions & forest

Guidance

Landfill tax rate increase as part of the Spring Budget

His Majesty’s Treasury has increased the standard rate of disposing waste in landfill to £126.15 per tonne  from April 2025. The lower rate of landfill tax (for inert waste such as construction rubble), will also rise, to £4.05 per tonne.

Source: Circular online

For the full article, click here

Monitoring stack emissions: standards for continuous monitoring and sampling

The Environment Agency (EA) released this guidance document on 7 March 2024. It specifies the standards relating to the:

  • Quality assurance of Continuous Emissions Monitoring Systems (CEMS) and their associated Data Acquisition and Handling Systems (DAHS)
  • Long-Term Samplers (LTS)
  • Quality assurance of Predictive Emissions Monitoring Systems (PEMS)

Source: Gov.uk

For the full guidance, click here

Packaging data: what to collect for extended producer responsibility (changes to the data you must report from 2024)

There are some changes to the data you must collect and report from 2024 onwards.

These changes are due to take legal effect in all four nations on 1 April 2024, but affect the data that you must submit for the whole of 2024.

These changes affect several areas:

  • drinks containers,
  • filling packaging,
  • imported goods,
  • what counts as household packaging,
  • supplying empty packaging to large organisations,
  • what packaging sellers are responsible for.

Where the rules are changing, they are explained under separate headers in the relevant sections of the guide.

They do not apply to data you collect and report for 2023.

Source: Gov.uk

For the full guidance, click here

Storing and physically treating hazardous metal shredder residues: RPS 274

The EA’s Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) 274 applies to storing and physically treating hazardous metal shredder residues coded and described as:

  • 19 10 03* fluff-light fraction and dust containing hazardous substances.
  • 19 10 05* other fractions containing hazardous substances.

(An asterisk at the end of an EWC code means the waste is hazardous).

This RPS does not change your legal requirement to have an environmental permit with the correct waste codes when you store or physically treat hazardous metal shredder residues. However, the EA will not normally take enforcement action against you if you do not comply with this legal requirement, provided that: 

  • your activity meets the description set out in this RPS, 
  • you comply with the conditions set out in this RPS.  

In addition, your activity must not cause (or be likely to cause) pollution of the environmental or harm to human health and must not cause the following:  

  • cause a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals, 
  • cause a nuisance through noise or odours, 
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.  

You must comply with the following conditions:

  • Email wastetreatment@environment-agency.gov.uk using ‘RPS 274 shredder residues’ as the subject.
  • Operate your site under a permit which authorises you to accept and physically treat metal shredder residues, coded as 19 10 04 or 19 10 06 (or both).
  • Apply to change (vary) your permit to include 19 10 03* or 19 10 05* (or both) by 1 April 2024.
  • Have the correct level of technical competence to cover accepting and physically treating hazardous shredder residues by 31 December 2024.
  • Make sure that metal shredder residues are coded and consigned as 19 10 03* or 19 10 05* (or both), unless you can prove that the metal shredder residue is non-hazardous waste through sampling and characterisation in accordance with Guidance on the Classification and Assessment of Waste (1st Edition v1.2.GB) Technical Guidance WM3 (WM3).
  • Make sure that metal shredder residues coded as 19 10 03* or 19 10 05* are handled and stored in accordance with the current permit requirements for 19 10 04 or 19 10 06 (or both).
  • Keep records for three years to show that you have complied with this RPS and make these records available to the EA on request.

You must not:  

  • Accept any metal shredder residues coded as 19 10 04 or 19 10 06 (or both) unless you can prove that it is non-hazardous waste through sampling and characterisation in accordance with WM3.
  • Use this RPS if your application to vary your permit to include 19 10 03* or 19 10 05* (or both) is either refused or returned to you as incomplete (not ‘duly made’).

The EA intends to review this RPS by 31 December 2024. The RPS can be withdrawn or amended before the review date, if considered necessary. This includes where the activity that this RPS relates to has not changed, and advises to check back from time to time, including at and before the review date, to see if this RPS still applies.  

The RPS will remain in force until it is removed from GOV.UK or is otherwise identified as having been withdrawn.   

Source: Gov.uk 

For the full guidance, click here  

Monitoring fugitive emissions from shredding waste upholstered domestic seating: RPS 297

The EA’s RPS 297 does not change your legal requirement to make every reasonable effort to avoid contaminating other waste with Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) when you shred waste upholstered domestic seating at a waste treatment site.

This RPS applies to waste treatment sites that are shredding waste upholstered domestic seating where their permit allows them to store and shred this waste under code 20 03 07. However, the EA will not normally take enforcement action against you if you do not comply with this legal requirement, provided that: 

  • your activity meets the description set out in this RPS, 
  • you comply with the conditions set out in this RPS.  

In addition, your activity must not cause (or be likely to cause) pollution of the environmental or harm to human health and must not cause the following:  

  • cause a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals, 
  • cause a nuisance through noise or odours, 
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.  

You must:

  • Send shredded waste upholstered domestic seating to an appropriately authorised Industrial Emissions Directive Chapter 4 compliant permitted incinerator.
  • Have health and safety workplace exposure monitoring data which has indicated the level of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs) are below 0.7mg/m3 for pentaBDE and the level of fugitive particulates below 5mg/m³.
  • Comply with the conditions in RPS 264 (with the exception of the abatement installation and commissioning deadline of 1 December 2024).
  • Send copies of health and safety workplace monitoring topopsinsofas@environment-agency.gov.uk by 30 April 2024.
  • Agree a fugitive monitoring plan for your shredding process with the EA by 31 August 2024.
  • Monitor the fugitive emissions from shredding waste upholstered domestic seating in line with the agreed fugitive monitoring plan.
  • Send the results of the fugitive emissions monitoring to the EA at popsinsofas@environment-agency.gov.uk by 20 December 2024.
  • Commission and install equipment to capture and abate fugitive emissions by 1 December 2025 if your monitoring results indicate fugitive emissions need to be abated.
  • Keep records for two years to show that you have complied with this RPS and make these records available to the EA on request.

Before you use this RPS, you must contact the EA by emailing popsinsofas@environment-agency.gov.uk. Include RPS 297 in the subject line. You must give your:

  • permit holder name,
  • permit number,
  • site address.

The EA intends to review this RPS by 28 December 2024. The RPS can be withdrawn or amended before the review date, if considered necessary. This includes where the activity that this RPS relates to has not changed, and advises to check back from time to time, including at and before the review date, to see if this RPS still applies.  

The RPS will remain in force until it is removed from GOV.UK or is otherwise identified as having been withdrawn.   

Source: Gov.uk 

For the full guidance, click here  

Storing and treating waste fire extinguishers: RPS 132

The EA’s RPS 132 applies to the storage and treatment of waste fire extinguishers before metal recovery. You can only use this regulatory position if supplying and maintaining fire extinguishers is a main activity of your business. Treatment is limited to the manual dismantling and cutting of empty cylinders to prevent further reuse.

However, the EA will not normally take enforcement action against you if you do not comply with this legal requirement, provided that: 

  • your activity meets the description set out in this RPS, 
  • you comply with the conditions set out in this RPS.  

In addition, your activity must not cause (or be likely to cause) pollution of the environmental or harm to human health and must not cause the following:  

  • cause a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals, 
  • cause a nuisance through noise or odours, 
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.  

You must comply with the following conditions:

Before you use this RPS you must send the EA an environmental permit application by 1 September 2024. You must stop using this RPS if your permit application is either:

  • refused,
  • returned to you as incomplete (not ‘duly made’).

You must:

Tell the EA before you use this RPS, email wastetreatment@environment-agency.gov.uk with:

  • The site address or addresses you are undertaking the activity at.
  • The maximum quantity of fire extinguishers you will store at any one time at any site under this RPS.
  • The maximum quantity of fire extinguishers you will treat in any month at any site under this RPS.
  • ‘RPS 132 – fire extinguishers’ as the subject of the email.

You must also:

  • Have a permit or operate under an exemption to recover parts from the fire extinguishers.
  • Only store and treat extinguishers classified as waste code 16 05 05.
  • Store waste fire extinguishers under cover and in a secure place.
  • Store and treat waste fire extinguishers on an impermeable surface with sealed drainage.
  • Empty all foams, water and powders from fire extinguishers into sealed containers before disposal or recovery.
  • Dispose of foam, water or separated fractions containing Perfluoro Octane Sulfonate (PFOS), Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA) or Perfluorohexanesulfonic acid (PFHxS) for disposal by high temperature incineration off site.
  • Separate and keep dry the different types of powders.
  • Keep records for three years to show that you have complied with this RPS and make these records available to the EA on request.

You must not:

  • Store more than 4,000 waste fire extinguishers at any one time before treatment.
  • Store waste fire extinguishers for more than three months before treatment.
  • Treat fire extinguishers that contain halons.
  • Treat more than 1,000 fire extinguishers in any one month.
  • Discharge carbon dioxide extinguishers to air if you can capture and reuse the contents.
  • Discharge any foam to sewer from this operation.

The EA intends to review this RPS by 1 September 2025. The RPS can be withdrawn or amended before the review date, if considered necessary. This includes where the activity that this RPS relates to has not changed, and advises to check back from time to time, including at and before the review date, to see if this RPS still applies.  

The RPS will remain in force until it is removed from GOV.UK or is otherwise identified as having been withdrawn.   

Source: Gov.uk 

For the full guidance, click here  

LPG flaring at end-of-life vehicle sites: RPS 202

The EA’s RPS 202 applies to flaring gas from Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) tanks at End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) sites as part of the depollution process.

This RPS does not change your legal requirement to have an environmental permit with the correct waste codes when you store or treat ELVs. However, the EA will not normally take enforcement action against you if you do not comply with this legal requirement, provided that: 

  • your activity meets the description set out in this RPS, 
  • you comply with the conditions set out in this RPS.  

In addition, your activity must not cause (or be likely to cause) pollution of the environmental or harm to human health and must not cause the following:  

  • cause a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals, 
  • cause a nuisance through noise or odours, 
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest.  

You must comply with the following conditions:

  • Have an environmental permit to store and treat ELVs.
  • Remove the gas from the LPG tank using a system specifically designed and manufactured for flaring gas from vehicle LPG tanks.
  • Flare the removed gas in a clearly identified, designated area of the site, away from combustible and flammable materials.
  • Detail the process and location for flaring in your fire prevention plan.
  • Carry out a Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations (DSEAR) assessment and put measures in place to eliminate or control the risks before flaring takes place.
  • Clearly label the LPG tanks that have had the gas removed, to identify that they have been emptied, and send them for recovery at a suitably permitted site.
  • Keep records for three years to show that you have complied with this RPS and make these records available to the EA on request.

You must not:  

  • Flare any gas other than LPG from automotive LPG tanks on site.

The EA intends to review this RPS by 1 December 2026. The RPS can be withdrawn or amended before the review date, if considered necessary. This includes where the activity that this RPS relates to has not changed, and advises to check back from time to time, including at and before the review date, to see if this RPS still applies.  

The RPS will remain in force until it is removed from GOV.UK or is otherwise identified as having been withdrawn.   

Source: Gov.uk 

For the full guidance, click here

Receiving hazardous waste wood at household waste recycling centres: RPS 249

This RPS took effect on 1 August 2021. The EA will withdraw it by 30 September 2024. This will give the waste wood industry time:

  • to finish the agreed sampling and testing programme, that hazardous waste wood in mixed household waste wood is no longer present,
  • if hazardous waste wood is present, to apply for a permit variation to handle hazardous waste wood.

Source: Gov.uk

For the full guidance, click here

Articles of Interest

Great British Nuclear to buy two Hitachi sites for new nuclear development

Great British Nuclear (GBN) is buying land for new nuclear development from Hitachi at both Wylfa in Ynys Môn/Anglesey and Oldbury-on-Severn in Gloucestershire.

Earlier this year, the government published their Civil Nuclear Roadmap, setting out plans to boost the UK’s energy security and achieve net zero carbon emissions with up to a quarter of Britain’s energy produced from nuclear power by 2050. Access to nuclear sites is a critical factor in achieving these nuclear ambitions, which included deploying Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) and exploring a further large-scale reactor project after Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C. 

For the full article, click here

New construction waste reuse hub to open in Wolverhampton Recycling minister opens ring crusher at SWEEEP Kuusakoski site

The Defra minister with responsibility for recycling, Robbie Moore, officially opened SWEEEP Kuusakoski’s £3million ring crusher at its Sittingbourne recycling facility.

The ring crusher pulverises motors and transformers from waste electronics and separates the copper, plastic, ferrous and aluminium. Small, mixed Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) contain POPs waste so any output from the process will also be classified as containing POPs. The ring crusher is capable of separating the plastic into a copper smelter for the POPs compliant destruction.

The ring crusher originated from its parent company Kuusakoski’s Philadelphia site in the United States of America. It was transported in 10 shipping containers, totalling a weight of 120tonnes. Upon arrival, SWEEEP Kuusakoski’s engineering team rebuilt and refurbished the ring crusher within a span of four months.

Source: letsrecycle.com

For the full article, click here

‘Green Industrial Revolution’: Liverpool unveils proposals for world’s largest tidal project

The Liverpool City Region Combined Authority has unveiled advanced planning proposals for what could potentially become the world’s largest tidal scheme along the river Mersey, anticipated to be operational within a decade.

The multi-billion-pound project is now progressing towards the formal planning consent process. If successful, the project could position Liverpool as a leader in sustainable energy and align with the region’s target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Recent research found that a resilient and cost-effective transition to 100% renewables in the United Kingdom would require at least 27gigawatts (GW) of wave and tidal energy capacity by 2050.

According to the Marine Energy Council, the cost of generating power from sources such as tidal energy has nearly halved since 2018. The Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult suggests that prices could potentially be lower than nuclear energy, contingent upon policy support.

Source: edie.net

For the full article, click here

Circular economy crucial for National Health Service (NHS) to reach net zero, report says

The NHS must phase out single-use medical products and commit to reusing and re-manufacturing equipment to reach its net zero targets and reduce costs, a new report showed.

“The MedTech Spotlight report is a roadmap to accelerating circular economy adoption in healthcare that focuses on the medical technology sector”, the University of Exeter said. The report concludes that “business as usual” is no longer possible.

Professor Peter Hopkinson, Co-director of the National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research (NICER) programme’s CE-Hub at the University of Exeter, commented, “Our report identifies pain points and opportunities, and presents comprehensive recommendations to drive sustainable innovation and address the systemic challenges shaping the future of healthcare provision in the UK”.

Source: Circular magazine

For the full article, click here

Prosecutions and Fines

As a reminder, the EA will prosecute large organisations, as well as small-scale organisations, that do not adhere to environmental legislation.  Below are a few historical prosecutions that highlight the need for duty of care obligations to be carried out.

Construction company fined £185,000 for polluting brook at East Midlands site

In March 2023 the EA successfully prosecuted a construction company for polluting a local brook whilst engaged as contractors at the East Midlands Gateway development site.

At Nottingham Magistrates’ Court on 1 March 2023, the construction company admitted causing pollution and was fined £160,000 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £25,577.79.

The court was told that the company were contractors at the site near Kegworth when Hemington Brook became highly turbid and discoloured with clay solids.

A biological survey revealed that the discharge of contaminated run off from the site had caused “gross and chronic” pollution adversely affecting invertebrates.

A member of the public alerted the Environment Agency when the brook started “running red with silt pollution” on or before 27 September 2019.

Source: Gov.UK

For the full article, click here

Tyre Company hit with £100,000 fine for breaking rules in Northants

A company which flouted the rules to store highly flammable tyres on a Northamptonshire site has been fined £100,000 and ordered to pay costs of £7,463.

The company exceeded the amount of waste they were legally allowed to deposit at another site in Daventry. In total around 250,000 of waste tyres were deposited at the site.

The accepting site in Daventry, had two exemptions to store waste and mechanically treat end-of-life tyres. However, it did not have an environmental permit to store or treat large numbers of tyres on site and was required to keep these to a minimum (40tonnes of tyres stored over seven days).

EA officers discovered that the company had deposited thousands of tyres over the course of a year. They did this without checking that the site was authorised to accept those tyres.

The EA first became aware that the company regularly deposited tyres unlawfully at the accepting site in February 2021. When checked by the EA, the company’s records show that this illegal activity had happened between January 2020 until late February 2021.

Source: Gov.uk

For the full article, click here

EA enforcement undertakings

An enforcement undertaking is a voluntary offer made by an offender to:

  • Put right the effects of their offending.
  • Put right the impact on third parties.
  • Make sure the offense does not happen again.

If the EA accept an offer, it becomes a legally binding agreement between the EA and the business or person making the offer.

A large waste management company with multiple sites across the country made a reactive offer to the EA, which was accepted. The offence was operating without or other than in accordance with an environmental permit (groundwater activity) – Regulation 38(1), and to pollution of groundwater at a facility near Peterborough during February 2020 and March 2020.

This was a reactive offer. The actions the offeror has taken or will take are to:

  • carry out a comprehensive investigation,
  • carry out site improvement works,
  • review and increase flood storage capacity,
  • review and update site inspection and maintenance regime,
  • review and update relevant management systems procedures,
  • carry out sampling, analysis and inspection work,
  • carry out site restoration works,
  • commission consultants to investigate and report on the issue,
  • cover the Environment Agency’s costs.

The company will contribute £25,000 to Rockingham Forest Trust.

Source: Gov.uk

For the full list of enforcement undertakings, click here

Consultations

Draft risk management evaluation of a substance proposed as a persistent organic pollutant (POP) 2024

DEFRA is requesting comments on a draft risk management evaluation for chlorpyrifos, a chemical substance proposed as a POP to the United Nations’s Stockholm Convention.

For more information on chlorpyrifos and how to respond to the request for comments, click on the link below.

Source: Gov.uk

Comments on chlorpyrifos as a POP, click here.

Future regulatory regime for Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) ratings providers

ESG ratings are assessments of ESG matters, which increasingly drive investment decisions in financial markets. The consultation paper, which was open from 30 March 2023 to 30 June 2023, set out proposals for the scope of such a regulatory regime. At the Spring Budget 2024, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt, announced the government will regulate the provision of ESG ratings, where these assessments of ESG factors are used for investment decisions and influence capital allocation. This will improve clarity and trust in ESG ratings. A full consultation response and legislative steps will follow later this year.

Source: Gov.uk

To read the full consultation, click here

Events

Natural Capital: Practical Application

26th March 2024 12:00 – 13:00

This webinar will focus on sharing lessons learned from applying natural capital approaches to delivering nature-positive projects on the ground.  The webinar will include insights from a selection of case study projects on how using a natural approach informed design, planning and delivery.

To take part, click on the link below to register.

Source: IEMA

To register, click here

Edie’s Scope 3 Emissions Workshop

14th June 2024

Edie’s Scope 3 Emissions Workshop helps sustainability, energy and supply chain professionals tackle one of the most critical aspects of the net-zero transition – calculating, reporting, and minimising value chain emissions.

Taking place at the IET London:Savoy Place on Friday 14 June, this full-day event creates the time and space for professionals to identify new ideas and actions when it comes to effectively engaging with suppliers and taking control of Scope 3 emissions.

Click on the link below to register.

Source: edie.net

To register, click here

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The Environment Agency and waste management trade body, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) have launched their Waste Industry Placement Scheme to support the sharing of knowledge between the regulator and industry.  

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