Review of the Draft Hazardous Waste (England) Regulations 2004

Businesses face an ever-increasing legislative burden to protect the environment from emissions as a result of their operations. Experts in the field and senior consultants at Golder's, Jennifer Boniface and Edward Perry share their review of DEFRA's draft Hazardous Waste Regulations 2004.

Following the issue of a preliminary consultation paper in March 2001, DEFRA launched a second consultation paper (Review of the Special Waste Regulations 1996 in England, Proposals for Replacement Hazardous Waste Regulations and List of Wastes Regulations, DEFRA, July 2004) on 30 July 2004 regarding the proposed regulations, which will replace the Special Waste Regulations 1996 and implement the revised European hazardous waste list, which has been incorporated into the European Waste Catalogue (EWC).

This article summarises the consultation and highlights key changes from the existing Special Waste regime.

DEFINITION OF HAZARDOUS WASTE

Waste will be defined as hazardous if it is featured in the List of Wastes as a hazardous waste, as defined by the Hazardous Waste Directive.

The List of Wastes (England) Regulations 2004 transposed the European Waste Catalogue (EWC) into English regulations. The List of Wastes shows wastes that will always be classified as hazardous irrespective of their chemical composition with an asterisk (*). In addition there are 'mirror entries' where a waste will only be hazardous if it contains dangerous substances.

Regulation 4 of the List of Waste Regulations lists the concentrations (% by weight) with regards to H3 to H8, H10(a) and H11, with no concentration limits for the other hazardous properties, for a waste containing dangerous substances to be classified as hazardous.

Currently, all Prescription Only Medicines (POMs) are classified as Special Waste. However, only cytotoxic and cytostatic medicines are classified as hazardous waste in the EWC. DEFRA has asked whether consultees wish to classify all POMs as hazardous waste or to implement the minimum requirements specified in the EWC.

Amalgam waste from dentists is now classified as hazardous and will have to be disposed of as a separate waste stream and, as stated above, not mixed with other wastes or materials. Thus dental amalgam will need to be consigned as hazardous waste but the surgery will only need to be registered if it exceeds the limits detailed above.

Domestic waste is excluded from these regulations, except for those fractions that are collected separately.

PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITIES

Hazardous waste producers will be required to register the site/s at which hazardous waste is produced with the Environment Agency.

Producers do not have to register if they produce less than:

  • 200kg of waste electrical and electronic equipment, in general this includes anything through which an electric current is passed to carry out work except for filament lights; or

  • 50kg of other wastes, and there must be less than 2 consignments a year. One of the most common materials that will bring businesses under these Regulations is used engine oil.

    Civic amenity sites will be required to register, as although domestic waste is exempt from the regulations, once hazardous waste reaches the civic amenity site it will be considered a separately collected fraction and therefore comes under these regulations.

    The regulations prohibit the mixing of hazardous waste with any other types of waste, i.e. mixing wastes with different six digit numbers as listed in the List of Wastes Regulations. This includes different types of hazardous waste, non-hazardous waste or any other material.

    All registered sites will be subject to inspections by the Agency. The format and frequency of these inspections are unknown at this time but the frequency is likely to be related to the quantity of hazardous waste produced and subsequent reports by the Agency regarding the site.

    NOTIFICATION AND CONSIGNMENT

    Movements of hazardous waste will need to be consigned whether or not the premises from which it originates is registered with the Environment Agency. The consignment system will work in much the same manner as it is currently carried out.

    The major changes to the current system are as follows:

  • The current system requires the Agency to be notified 72hrs in advance of a waste movement. This is now being abandoned to reduce the administrative burden on the Environment Agency

  • Where a hazardous waste is disposed of onsite the appropriate consignment notes would still need to be completed, although one consignment note would cover all waste movement occurring within a 3 month period

  • Copies of individual consignment notes no longer need to be sent to the Agency, again to lift the administrative burden. Instead waste management facilities (consignees) would make quarterly returns to the Agency regarding the consignments they had received. This would also apply to where hazardous waste is disposed of on-site

  • Waste management facilities (consignees) will be required to send a return to all producers detailing the wastes that had been received from them. The producer will need to keep these in a register together with all consignment notes for three years

  • The Agency will no longer provide consignment notes but will provide a methodology for numbering consignment notes using the premises code provided to producers when they notify their premises

    It is assumed that the methodology will include how the consignments are to be numbered for premises that come under the registration thresholds.

    OFFENCES

    These regulations introduce the idea of a fixed penalty of £200 to be issued by the Agency for minor offences such as; failing to notify any premises; failing to complete a consignment note; and failing to submit the quarterly return.

    AGENCY FEES

    It is proposed that the fee for the notification of a premises will range from; £18 for supplying the information through the internet or other electronic method, to £28 for supplying the information by paper.

    In addition there will be a fee for the consignee for each quarterly return.

    COMING INTO FORCE

    DEFRA propose that these regulations come into force in July 2005 to coincide with the application of the waste acceptance criteria for hazardous landfills. The requirement for producers to notify would come into force on the 1st April 2005.

    WHAT'S HAPPENING IN THE REST OF THE UK?

    The Welsh Assembly launched a consultation on the List of Wastes Regulations and Hazardous Waste Regulations on 3 August 2004. The consultation contains the English draft legislation and states that the regulations will be introduced in parallel with England to avoid complicating the regulatory regime and the burdens that would bring to Welsh businesses.

    The Special Waste Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2004 were made in March 2004 and came into force on 1 July 2004. These regulations have transposed the minimum requirements of the Hazardous Waste Directive into Scottish law. There is no requirement for special waste producers to notify their sites to SEPA, merely to continue the existing consignment system and ensure that a special waste register is maintained.

    Northern Ireland is currently writing draft regulations and these are expected to be released for consultation shortly. We understand that the Northern Irish regulations will follow the Scottish approach, by adapting the existing special waste regime, and that there are currently no plans to introduce requirements to register hazardous waste producers in Northern Ireland.

    April 2005 is not far away when the first requirements of this legislation will come into force. This legislation will close the inconsistencies between the Landfill Regulations and the Special Waste Regulations, however additional requirements will be placed on producers of hazardous waste requiring them to be more aware of what they are producing and how it is being treated or disposed of.

    For further information please contact: Susan Tully, Golder Associates (UK) Limited, http://www.golder.com


  • Tags

    consultation | hazardous waste | Scotland | SEPA

    Topics

    Waste & resource management
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