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DEFRA waste crime consultation highlights some things to look out for in 2019, including a review of waste exemptions, a TCM registration scheme, the requirement for EMS on pre-2008 permits and the introduction of financial provision at non-landfills.

Last week (6th Feb 2019), DEFRA updated their response to the 2018 consultation on waste crime.  The consultation was broad in scope with implications for existing sites and new permit applications.  The full consultation response can be found here:

Reducing crime at sites handling waste and introducing fixed penalties for waste duty of care

Operator Competence and TCMs

Some non-environmental offences will need to be declared in future permit applications.  Offences under the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979, Fraud Act 2006, Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 and Theft Act 1968 will need to be disclosed.  The goal is to grant permits only to operators with a ‘good attitude’ to compliance.

A de-registration scheme for Technically Competent Managers (TCMs), typically a WAMITAB holder, is to be brought into legislation.  Waste operators will also need to submit details of technical competence as part of their waste returns.

The requirement to have an Environmental Management System (EMS) is to be extended to all sites, including those issued prior to 2008.  This is to enable poor site management to be assessed consistently regardless of when the permit was issued.  Legislation is expected to be updated from April 2019. 

Currently, the financial competence of an operator is only checked if a permit applicant has been subject to insolvency proceedings.  Guidance is to be updated to state that these checks can be carried out at any time, to help recognise sites that may be poorly managed or at risk of abandonment.

DEFRA support the introduction of financial provisions to non-landfill activities and the ‘strengthening’ of the current landfill arrangements.  The rationale appears to be based on dealing with site abandonment and significant permit breaches.  A further consultation is expected in 2019.

Reforming exemptions

DEFRA report that there is evidence the currently available exemptions are used to hide illegal waste activity and they intend to review the system.  The original consultation proposed limiting the number of exemptions, and preventing the registration of exemption at sites with waste permits.  Several exemptions, including use, treatment and storage types, were targeted specifically with options to amend or remove them.  A further government response is expected in 2019 setting out the full proposals.