Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
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Simple and fairer waste exemptions from environmental permitting
Proposed changes to the system of environmental permit exemptions will increase waste recovery and recycling, whilst maintaining high levels of environmental protection and saving businesses money, Environment Minister Joan Ruddock said today.
Defra, the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) and the Environment Agency are reviewing which waste handling businesses can operate under exemptions, and which require a permit.
An exemption allows certain waste management activities to be carried out without an environmental permit (formerly known as a Waste Management Licence). Exemptions do not free an operator from regulatory control, but provide a proportionate level of regulation for low risk activities which do not pollute the environment or pose a risk to human health.
Joan Ruddock said:
"Environmental permits are an essential tool in protecting the environment from the impacts of waste, but the system must be fair, simple and proportionate to risk. The changes we are proposing in the consultation we have published today deliver all those things. Our estimate is that they will also offer real savings for some businesses by cutting red tape and making waste management more efficient, which could be as much as £45m over three years."
The review will be of interest to any business recycling, re-using or disposing of any kind of waste. Most businesses currently operating under an exemption will continue to do so but under the new proposals businesses may need to renew and re-register their exemptions more frequently to ensure waste registers are up to date. Some businesses that have previously operated under a waste exemption may now need to apply for a permit, while those with an Environmental Permit may be able to register an exemption. It is proposed that the cost to the Environment Agency of regulating the system will be met through a charge for the registration of all exempt waste operations.
Jane Davidson, the Welsh Assembly Government Minister for Environment, Sustainability and Housing, said:
"These proposed revised exemptions will complete the new environmental permitting regime and ensure that the level of regulation of waste activities match the risk they pose to the environment. This consultation is an opportunity for industry to help shape the new exemptions system."
Dr Paul Leinster, Acting Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said:
"Most of the waste exemptions currently available have been in place since 1994 with little or no amendment. To keep pace with the changing world of waste management and the new techniques that have been developed, we need a revised suite of exemptions.
"We are seeking to encourage businesses to recover and recycle their waste by offering exemptions for truly low risk operations. Conversely, we are proposing tightening the regulations for those operations that pose a higher risk to the environment.
"We need to hear the views of businesses which might be affected before we make changes to the system. We would encourage all businesses handling waste to look at the website to find out if their waste activity might be affected, and to participate in the consultation."
The consultation is open for 12 weeks from 31 July and 23 October 2008.
To participate visit http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/management/exemptions
To find out if your waste activity may be affected by the proposals visit http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/management/exemptions
NOTES TO EDITORS
SECTOR HOW MIGHT THE FOR EXAMPLE PROPOSALS AFFECT ME? Construction Some activities that Businesses producing more than currently require 500 tonnes of aggregates from notification will now inert waste will require an need a standard permit application for a standard permitThe use of more than 500 tonnes of aggregates made from inert waste will require an application for a standard permit Some activities that The use of less than 500 currently require tonnes of inert material in a notification of the construction works will become exemption, subject to a simple exemption. assessment, will become simple exemptions Agriculture Some exemptions that Burning of up to 10 tonnes per are commonly day of plant matter will still registered by the operate under an exemption. agricultural community However, it will need to be will need to be re-registered every three renewed every three years. We have proposed that a years. registration fee of £50 by paper or phone or a lower fee online, to be paid per site. We will offer simple A new simple exemption is exemptions for proposed for the on-farm environmentally sound anaerobic digestion for up to methods of disposing 1000 tonnes of of manure and of non-hazardous slurry. materials produced on a farm. Waste We are proposing that The limit for a simple management there should be exemption for paper recycling varying limits on the will be 500 tonnes if the quantities of waste paper is stored outside and stored in order to 3000 tonnes if it is stored register a simple inside. exemption. The limits will depend on whether the waste is stored and processed inside or outside. We will introduce more The storage, re-use or simple exemptions for dismantling of up 100 tonnes the storage, re-use of footwear will become a and dismantling of a simple exemption.The storage, wide range of re-use or dismantling of up materials destined for 100 tonnes of wooden pallets recovery. will become a simple exemption. General Some waste activities The following wastes will need business that have operated to have an exemption:Clinical without a permit or wasteClothingConstruction and exemption will now demolition wasteElectrical need to register a equipment wasteFood waste from waste exemption for retailers and the first time. producersFurniture and household itemsHazardous wasteOilThe production of small amounts of biodiesel from used cooking oil
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