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Fortnightly Bulletin – 29th March 2021

30 March 2021

waste
Legal Updates
Changes to Landfill Tax rates from 1st April 2021

Landfill Tax is charged on material disposed of at a landfill site or an unauthorised waste site. It encourages efforts to minimise the amount of material produced and the use of non-landfill waste management options, which may include recycling, composting and recovery. Increasing Landfill Tax rates in line with RPI means that Landfill Tax can continue to help the government meet its environmental objectives.

The increases in the standard and lower rates of Landfill Tax in line with RPI will apply to taxable disposals made, or treated as made, at relevant landfill sites and unauthorised waste sites, on or after 1 April 2021. The rate changes will apply in England and Northern Ireland only.

Sites operating without the necessary environmental disposal permit or licence will be liable for Landfill Tax at the standard rate on all deposited material.

Legislation will be introduced in the Finance Bill 2021 to amend section 42(1)(a) and 42(2) to provide for the new rates of Landfill Tax. The rates being amended, and the new rates for England are shown in the table below:

Material Sent to LandfillRates from 1st April 2020Rates from 1st April 2021
Standard rated£94.15 per tonne£96.70 per tonne
Lower rated£3.00 per tonne£3.10 per tonne

Source: Changes to Landfill Tax rates from 1 April 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), March 2021

Policy update: Environment Bill

The government has announced a delay to the Environment Bill’s passage through Parliament, due to COVID-19 restrictions and a bottleneck of legislation making its way onto the statute book. It is expected that the Bill will receive significant interest in the Lords, and the pause means it will carry over into the next parliamentary session, rather than being rushed through without proper scrutiny, or risking being dropped.

Source: Policy update: Environment Bill – IEMA, March 2021

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) Public registers

Electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) is regulated to reduce the amount of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) incinerated or sent to landfill sites. Reduction is achieved through various measures which encourage the recovery, reuse and recycling of products and components. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2013 (as amended) is the underpinning UK legislation.

This guidance details registers of EEE producers, approved exporters and approved authorised treatment facilities. There is also a list of WEEE producer compliance schemes and their contact details.

Guidance updated 19th March 2021

Source: Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) public registers – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), March 2021

Is It Waste Tool 

The Is It Waste tool will be decommissioned on 31 March 2021 and no longer open to use from this date. All data previously submitted to and held within the tool, including backups, will be irretrievably deleted. Therefore, please ensure you complete any ongoing work and/or retrieve any data you have currently stored within the tool (as required) by 31 March 2021.

The tool is being decommissioned because the IT infrastructure which it is based around has become out-dated and is no longer supported.

Businesses can continue to self-assess beyond the 31st March using the existing Defra guidance upon which the tool is based. See Part 2 of the ‘Guidance on the legal definition of waste and its application’ (found here) for a practical guide on how to assess whether materials are likely or unlikely to be waste. This guide includes step-by-step instructions for self-assessment.

As you may be aware the Environment Agency’s Definition of Waste Service continues to be suspended to new submissions until at least July 2021. As part of this temporary suspension, they are reviewing the Definition of Waste Service and developing a new application process.

Source: Environment Agency, 26 March 2021

Articles of Interest
Protecting ecology while you work

If you’re planning to carry out construction work, you need to take into account how it might impact the local environment. Use this link to access an ecology checklist to ensure you are working responsibly (access may require registration).

When planning construction work which could disturb local wildlife or cause damage to the environment, you need to do everything you can to protect it. Use the ecology checklist to work through the potential issues which may arise during your project. This will help you to better understand whether the measures you have in place are effective and if there are any weak links which need to be addressed.

  • Before you start, pull together the information provided at the pre-construction phase of the project. For example, this should tell you if there have been any ecology surveys and their outcome, the presence of trees which have a preservation order, proximity of sensitive habitats, etc. Ensure these details have been considered in your environmental risk assessment and that your risk control measures will avoid damage, disturbance or pollution.
  • Check also for any necessary permissions and licences that may be required if disturbing species habitats.
  • If you’re unsure whether trees on your site are protected by preservation orders, contact your local authority for further assistance.
  • If you plan to bury or burn waste from removal of invasive plant species, you will need a permit or otherwise check that the activity is exempt. Check on the government website for specific information.
  • Once your plans are in place, it will be essential to ensure all workers are on board and understand your procedures. As indicated in our checklist you should provide all operatives with instruction on best practices. This should be delivered before they begin work.

Source: Tips & Advice Environment | Tips & Advice (tips-and-advice.co.uk), March 2021

The Environment Agency is proposing to revoke (cancel) four abstraction licenses

Water can be abstracted (taken) from groundwater, surface water, or tidal water. An abstraction licence details of what is permitted such as how much water is allowed to be abstracted and at what times. Consideration is given to ground water, aquifers, sensitive receptors and water conservation when granting a licence. The Environment Agency have the right to revoke licences at any time.

Four abstraction licences are proposed to be revoked from 26th March 2021. The Environment Agency is required to give notice of this proposal (link below). The Environment Agency give this notice under section 52 of the Water Resources Act 1991 and regulation 31 of the Water Resources (Abstraction and Impounding) Regulations 2006.

The Environment Agency has made this proposal as part of a programme to help restore sustainable abstraction and to conserve, and secure the proper use of, water resources.

For details of the proposed revoked abstraction licences, click the link below.  

Do not rely on being granted an abstraction licence. It takes approximately 12 weeks for the environment Agency to review application and decide if a permit can be granted. Consideration is given to surrounding environment and how sensitive the abstraction is.

Source: The Environment Agency is proposing to revoke (cancel) Four abstraction licences 26 March 2021 – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk), March 2021

Fines and Prosecutions
Skip company fined £22,000 for illegal activity

A skip company based at Riverside Farm, Setchey, near King’s Lynn, was only permitted to store and treat waste indoors, within a certain area. However, the Environment Agency found stockpiles of used refrigerators, soiled mattresses, rubble and other mixed waste outside in the open, where it risked contaminating the nearby River Nar Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Environment Agency officers visited the site nine times between May 2018 and April 2019 and found waste piled up on land used by the company. Officers repeatedly offered advice and support, but the company failed to adhere to multiple deadlines and clear the waste.

The operator was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £8,170 in costs and surcharges after pleading guilty to the charge in Norwich Magistrates’ Court on 29 September 2020.

Ensure you check your permit conditions and do not carry out any activities not listed on your permit. If you do wish to carry out other activities a permit variation will be required.

Source: Case law: Skip company fined £22,000 for illegal activity – IEMA, December, 2020

Online learning and events
Environmental Analyst UK Business Summit

15th & 16th June 2021

The online UK Business Summit will include senior-level panel discussions, keynote presentations, virtual roundtable discussions, and digital networking. Designed especially for business leaders and senior executives working across the environmental & sustainability services industry, the event will offer an unmissable opportunity to hear from expert commentators, analysts and industry peers on how they are interpreting and responding to current and emerging market trends and disruptors.

Environmental Consultancy Conference | Environment Analyst Business Summit 2021 (environment-analyst.com)

Circular Economy Virtual Event

Tuesday 30th March 2021 13:00 – 13:45

This beginner level Lunch n Learn will introduce you to the concept of the Circular Economy, provide you with an understanding of the key elements and what it means for the built environment. At this session you will:

  • Learn about the principles of the Circular Economy
  • Understand the drivers for moving towards a Circular Economy model
  • Develop an understanding of the benefits of adopting circular thinking

VIRTUAL: Circular Economy Lunch n Learn (supplychainschool.co.uk)

Recent Insights

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WRAP Recycling Week

This week is National Recycling week, led by the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP). This will be the 18th annual Recycle Week since its inauguration. WRAP is a registered British Charity aimed at achieving a circular economy.

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