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Update to the Environment Agency waste guidance in England: How does this affect your site?

Greg Altria Associate
Greg Altria

Greg has previously worked as a Permitting Officer at the Environment Agency and has applied his knowledge of environmental management, regulatory requirements and technical processes on a wide range of environmental permitting projects at SLR. Greg has far reaching experience of the regulatory requirements for power plants, industrial installations, onshore oil and gas sites, and waste management facilities as licensed under the Environmental Permitting Regulations (England and Wales), Waste Management Licensing Regulations and Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations (PPC) (Northern Ireland).

The Environment Agency (EA) recently held a consultation on draft guidance for ‘Appropriate measures for permitted facilities that take non-hazardous and inert waste’ in England. This draft guidance is designed to help operators understand which standards (appropriate measures) are relevant to regulated facilities with environmental permits to treat or transfer non-hazardous and/or inert waste. This draft guidance applies to permitted waste management facilities such as:

  • Household waste recycling facilities (civic amenity sites);
  • Waste transfer stations;
  • Materials recycling facilities;
  • Inert waste, aggregate and soil treatment facilities; and
  • Treatment facilities for processing waste such as wood, tyres, plastics and mattresses.

The draft guidance, if adopted, will replace the following existing guidance notes:

  • How to comply with your environmental permit, Reference 433_11, version 6, June 2013 (withdrawn 01/02/2016); and
  • Guidance for the Recovery and Disposal of Hazardous and Non-Hazardous Waste, Integrated pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC), version 5, May 2013.

How does this affect your site?

If your existing site falls into one of the types of facilities listed above, then the timeframe by which you must comply with these new measures depends on which category the improvements at your facility falls into:

  • Standard good practice requirements – where improvements are relatively low cost, operators should implement them as soon as possible and in any event within 12 months of the date of publication of this guidance (e.g. updated management systems, waste pre-acceptance/acceptance/handling techniques, appropriate monitoring equipment); or
  • More capital-intensive improvements- operators should complete these improvements as soon as reasonably possible and in any event within 3 years of the date of publication of this guidance (e.g. installing significant abatement and emissions monitoring equipment, the significant redesign of facility layout such as installation of new buildings or treatment or abatement plant).

Local environmental impacts such as nearby sensitive receptors, may mean an operator has to act more quickly than the timescales outlined above.

By August 2022, unless approved by a derogation, existing installations must comply with relevant BAT Associated Emission Levels (AELs). These are set out in the published Waste Treatment BAT Conclusions document.

New sites (including new or replacement plant at existing facilities) must comply from when operations begin, unless a derogation is approved.

Below are some of the new measures proposed by this draft guidance:

  • Changes to Environmental Management System requirements;
  • Requirements to undertake changing climate risk assessments;
  • Sectoral benchmarking;
  • Detailed contingency plan requirements;
  • Storage of RDF or SRF waste must be wrapped with high-density polyethylene (HDPE) membrane or equivalent;
  • Potentially polluting activities must be enclosed within a building to prevent and minimise emissions of pollution, unless it can be demonstrated that alternative measures are equally effective or better;
  • Containment must meet CIRIA 736 or an equivalent approved standard, including liquid storage and bulk; and
  • Use of continuous dust and particulate monitoring systems with trigger alarms.

SLR have the broad range of skills and expertise to be able to assist you in assessing how the ‘Appropriate Measures for Permitted Facilities that take Non-Hazardous and Inert Waste’ guidance may affect you and assisting you with complying.

For more information please contact Greg Altria (Principal Consultant - Environment Management, Permitting & Compliance) or Maria Francis (Senior Consultant – Environment Management, Permitting & Compliance) through our contact form.