Waste operators risk permit breaches over lapsed CoTCs

Concerns are mounting over the high number of waste operators that have not yet registered to keep their technical competency skills up-to-date, as a key deadline approaches.

Waste management facility operators in England and Wales have to demonstrate technical competence in the form of a certificate (CoTC), and keep this updated. If they do not, they are in breach of their environmental permits.

One way is remain compliant is by taking the ‘continuing competence’ test, which is run by CIWM and WAMITAB. The deadline for taking this test has been extended until 29 February 2012, but to take advantage of this, candidates had to register their interest with WAMITAB before the end of February 2011.

However, out of 11,500 CoTCs issued, only 1,200 operators have taken the test with a further 1,300 having registered their interest with WAMITAB to take the test before the deadline.

WAMITAB’s director general, Lawrence Strong, said: “This still leaves a significant number that will need to take the test. It is important that people book in good time to avoid a rush as the deadline approaches and the possibility of being non-compliant.”

The Environment Agency’s environment & business adviser, Andy Bee, added: “We are concerned at the low level of take up of the continuing competence test. We have already written to all operators to explain the requirements including the extended deadline for the test.

“Our officers are continuing to re-enforce that message during regular site visits and contact with operators. We are taking steps to actively monitor uptake by operators and will consider appropriate enforcement action against those who are unwilling to comply with the requirements.”

Maxine Perella

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