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Waste Regulations

What are the regulations?

These regulations transpose the revised Waste Framework Directive (WFD) (2008/98/EC) into law and make some changes to the way we manage waste in England and Wales. They came into force on 29 March 2011.

The Waste (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Wales) Regulations 2011 also came into effect at this time and are supplemental to the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011. They were necessary to make a number of changes to Welsh legislation. They mirror the hazardous waste provisions, so as to apply the same provisions in Welsh legislation, and make a number of other minor consequential amendments.

There are separate regulations in Scotland and in Northern Ireland.

I have heard of the new waste regulations. What are the main changes?

The aim of the revised WFD is to promote waste prevention, increase recycling and ensure better use of resources, whilst protecting human health and the environment. The waste hierarchy is placed at the heart of waste management. You should therefore look at your waste in light of these aims.

There will be some changes in the regulation of hazardous wastes. If you produce or manage hazardous waste, check that you are familiar with changes to hazardous waste controls, especially relating to consignment notes. Both the multiple consignment procedures and the standard consignment note procedures have been simplified.

The changes include:

  • Placing greater emphasis on the waste hierarchy to encourage more waste prevention, re-use and recycling. The hierarchy will have to be applied by businesses transferring waste and by environmental permit holders whose operations generate waste. The waste producer has the most important role in this.
  • Excluding from waste controls some types of waste, notably animal by-products, as these are controlled now by other legislation. This will mean a few changes in permits for managing such wastes and some sites will now be exempt from needing a waste permit.
  • Some amendment to obligations under duty of care to take account of the waste hierarchy, such as a declaration on transfer notes and hazardous waste consignment notes.
  • Introducing a two-tier carrier and broker registration system, including an obligation on waste producers carrying their own (non- construction/demolition) waste to register by end of 2013, and a new concept of 'dealer'.
  • Minor amendments to the assessment of hazardous waste and to the consignment note procedures and record keeping requirements.
  • Bringing certain categories of radioactive waste under waste control.

What must I do differently?

For most businesses, the impact of the changes will be small:

  • The regulations will affect a broad range of businesses that produce waste, import or export waste, carry or transport waste, keep or store waste, treat waste, dispose of waste or operate as a waste broker or dealer.
  • There is renewed emphasis on the waste producer in particular in using the waste management hierarchy. So, if you are a business then you will be required to confirm that you have applied the waste hierarchy when transferring waste and, from 28 September 2011, include a declaration on any waste transfer note or hazardous waste consignment note.
  • Transfer notes from 28 September 2011 must also include the 2007 Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code of the person transferring the waste.
  • The standard hazardous waste consignment note will have been modified and the modified form of note will have to be used from 28 September 2011 (six months after commencement of the regulations) but can be used sooner if you wish. The modified note will contain a declaration in Part D that the waste hierarchy has been applied. You must continue to use the 2003 SIC codes.
  • If you hold or require an environmental permit for an operation that generates waste you will have to comply with a permit condition concerning the application of the waste hierarchy. The new condition will apply to new permits and will be added to existing permits when they are reviewed.
  • There will be changes to hazardous waste controls such as multiple collection rounds, retention of documents and changes to hazardous properties. So if you are a producer of hazardous waste then you should be aware of these changes (see hazardous waste questions for more detail).
  • If you normally and regularly carry your own waste as part of your business, you will have to register as a ‘lower tier’ carrier from the end of 2013 unless it is construction and demolition waste. Businesses who carry any construction and demolition waste already have to register as carriers and this will continue. Those businesses need to register as ‘upper tier’ carriers.
  • If your operation involves radioactive wastes covered by three specific Radioactive Exemption Orders, the regulations will require you to comply with waste controls, for example the requirement for an environmental permit where relevant, and the duty of care requirements.
  • Some materials have now been excluded from waste controls. As a result, some waste permits may need to be revoked or varied. You should note however, that almost all wastes do still require waste controls as before and if your operation includes both excluded and non-excluded wastes, it will continue to require waste controls for the non-excluded wastes.

    Where can I find out more about the regulations?

    www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2011/988/made

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