Environment Agency v Armstrong Environmental Services Ltd: Timber waste to wood chip is exempt from waste licensing regime.
At a hearing of the Administrative Court on 22 March 2005 it was held that the conversion of timber waste into wood chip was a manufacture from waste into a timber product and therefore exempt under the waste management licensing regime.
The Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994, provides for a number of activities to be exempt from the requirement to hold a licence as listed in Schedule 3 of the Regulations.
Schedule 3 includes at paragraph 13 the category of exempt activity, covering the manufacture of waste. This is stated at paragraph 13(1)(b) to include waste consisting of wood.
Initially a decision was taken by the Magistrate.s Court in September 2003, that Armstrong Environmental Services Ltd had knowingly caused controlled waste (approximately 1,000 tonnes of timber waste) to be deposited on land in breach of sections 33(1)(a) and 33(6) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.
While timber waste is a controlled waste, this decision was overturned on appeal, it being accepted that the processing of timber waste into wood chip at the site constituted the manufacture of waste and was therefore exempt under paragraph 13 of Schedule 3 of the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994.
On appeal made by the Environment Agency, this decision was upheld by the High Court who held that .manufacture did not need to involve production of an end product and the process of creating wood chip by shredding the waste timber was clearly a manufacturing process from waste, which consisted of wood, for the manufacture of a timber product..