Government proposes replacing waste registration with permit system

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The Government has launched a consultation that is proposing to replace the current waste registration regime with a permit system.

Set to be brought in during 2023/204 and applying to England only, waste companies would be reclassified from the current waste carrier, waste broker and waste dealers (CBD) to either of these two categories:

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  • A waste transporter who physically transports waste as instructed but does not classify it or decide its destination
  • The waste controller who takes responsibility for classifying waste and deciding where it is taken, and then arranges for a transporter to carry out the physical transportation.

Brokers that currently make decisions on the movement of waste materials, but are a step removed from accountability for the material, would be considered controllers of the waste under this proposed regime.

Businesses could be authorised to be both waste transporters and waste controllers.

All of this would be managed by an electronic waste tracking service.

Under the proposed rules, companies would need to apply for a waste transporter permit, a waste controller permit, or both.

Some exemptions would be made for organisations such as charities undertaking some collection of waste materials for fundraising purposes.

To gain a permit, companies are likely to be required to meet the following conditions:

• Which activities are permitted and any relevant conditions associated with that activity (e.g. for waste transporter permits there would be conditions around transporting the waste securely)

• Keeping relevant records

• Compliance with the waste hierarchy

• Transporting / controlling waste in a way which does not endanger human health or harm the environment

• Compliance with relevant technical competence requirements

• Payment of any fees

• Requirement to tell the Environment Agency if certain details change (trading names, insolvency etc.).

The Government is also proposing that there will be a legal requirement for advertising and vehicles to contain the permit number.

Companies are likely to need to self-declare they are meeting the conditions of their permit, although the timescale when this will be required is being consulted on.

Those receiving a permit in England, will likely be able to work across the UK under the permit, although Devolved Nations will continue to operate their own systems for companies registered in their jurisdictions.

However, the consultation also proposes a new permitting scheme for exporters throughout the UK. The key principles of this would be:

• a framework requiring all operators that export waste from England to hold a permit similar to that of a standard rules permit for waste site operations,

• operators wishing to apply for a permit would need to be registered as a legal entity in the UK or have a UK address,

• the permitting framework would be administered and regulated by the regulator for waste shipments in England, the Environment Agency,

• applicants would be required to demonstrate adequate technical competency related to the export of waste, for example in waste classification and waste handling,

• operators that hold a permit could be identified on a public register,

• enforcement action could be taken by the regulator against permit holders that do not meet the conditions in their permit.

According to Defra, the benefits of this approach would be:

• all exporters of waste could be identified by the regulator

• the regulator could proactively provide advice and guidance to businesses when changes are made to export controls

• the regulator could more readily trace waste back to the exporter in the event of an illegal shipment being identified

• an assessment of adequate technical competence could be made by the regulator during the permit application process and at regular intervals throughout the life of the permit.

• the regulator could take enforcement action, suspend, or revoke a permit in the event of non-compliance with conditions of the permit.

Details of the consultation and the opportunity to respond to it are available at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/eq-resources-and-waste/consultation-on-cbd-reform/

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