UK – changes to waste licensing to benefit environment and industry

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Small scale composters exempt from charges…..

New amendments to the licensing regulations for waste management will help protect the environment and human health, as well as save industry money, according to the Government. These regulations primarily amend the list of exemptions to waste management licensing to prevent abuses that have led to sham waste recovery. In some cases, general rules which were restricting waste recovery have also been revised. Some of the smaller community composting groups, for instance, will no longer require a licence to carry out their work, helping local authorities meet recycling targets.

The new Regulations will also be clearer to follow, providing a level playing field for operators. Regulations in England and Wales stem from the Waste Framework Directive, which ensures waste disposal does not cause harm to the environment or human health. As such, the majority of waste disposal requires a waste management licence. These changes are to some exemptions from the need for a waste management licence which will allow cheaper options for waste recovery instead of disposal.

Environment Minister, Elliot Morley, explained that in light of concerns surrounding whether the current controls for those exempt activities were sufficient, a review of the regulations was initiated. Mr Morley added that the introduction of charges on such exemptions would not disadvantage smaller enterprises, who would otherwise have been required to apply for a waste management licence. The charges will ensure the Environment Agency has sufficient funding to regulate the exemptions.

In all, there are six areas which have been amended including composting, sewage treatment and storage, reclamation, dunnage and spreading industrial waste on land. There will be a wider review of exemptions beginning in 2006.

The regulations will also make a number of changes to other parts of the Waste Management Licensing Regulations. The prescriptions for mobile plant have also been amended. This will mean that mobile plant will now be able to be used in a wider range of waste management operations. This will benefit those remediating contaminated sites, including development.


This set of amendments to the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 began six years ago in response to a House of Commons Select Committee Report on Sustainable Waste Management (published in 1998) that questioned whether current controls for a number of exempt activities were sufficient to ensure protection of the environment and human health. The report highlighted a number of exemptions that had been subject to allegations of abuse and that were being used as a means of waste disposal rather than recovery

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Ano da Publicação:
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WARMER BULLETIN ENEWS #12-2005-March 25, 2005
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Kit Strange / Warmer Bulletin
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