Breached exemption on soils and stones results in fine from EA

Earlier this month, Wiser Environment reported on the EA’s investigations into the use of waste soils on construction sites which showed that many are unable to provide evidence to demonstrate their compliance with regulations.

Waste soilsThe investigations have resulted in greater scrutiny and a number of high profile court cases with significant fines. Just this month, a waste company and tenant farmer in Essex were taken to court by the Environment Agency (EA) and fined £19,430 for breaching a waste exemption.

The site had a U1 exemption allowing 1,000 tonnes of soil and stones to be used for construction purposes. In fact, four times that amount of waste was deposited on the land, not only containing soil and stones but also concrete, brick, plastic, glass, wood and plasterboard.

Following successful prosecution of the waste company director and the tenant farmer, the EA advised that:

  • Landowners have a responsibility to local residents, businesses and wildlife and should avoid taking risks that harm human health or environment.
  • Those that wish to operate under a waste exemption must register it with the EA and adhere to the specific limits, conditions and expiry date of that exemption.
  • Registering for an exemption doesn’t remove the need for other permits and permissions.

If you are unsure of your permit and exemption requirements, call Wiser Environment on 01480 462 232.


EA charging review may limit provision of free advice

Wiser Environment understands that the Environment Agency has commenced a wide-ranging review of its charging regime which may limit their provision of free advice.

Driven by the Cabinet Office’s Regulatory Futures Review, the Environment Agency (EA) is undertaking a Strategic Review of Charges (SRoC). Whilst this is likely to be formally consulted on later this year, informal consultation suggests that a broader scope of cost recovery options are being considered.

Whilst the details are unclear, early indications are that these might include additional charges to cover the assessment of Fire Prevention Plans (FPPs); limiting provision of free advice; in addition to the widely publicised proposal to recover cost from poor performers. The detail of the SRoC may become clearer in the autumn, and though the timetable is yet to be released it is expected that changes to the Environmental Permitting charging scheme will take effect from April 2018.

Watch this space!


EA investigations target waste soils

Recent Environment Agency investigations into the use of waste soils on construction sites have shown that many are unable to provide evidence to demonstrate their compliance with regulations. With the resulting greater scrutiny and a number of high profile court cases, do you need to review your procedures and documentation for managing waste soils?

Waste soilsThe Environment Agency’s campaign investigated how waste soils are classified and managed across England. Targeting construction sites holding U1 exemptions importing waste soils classified as 17 05 04 (non-hazardous soils), the EA required them to provide evidence to demonstrate the following:

  • Assessment and classification of waste soil by waste producers;
  • Duty of care checks by carriers collecting waste soils; and
  • Effectiveness of waste acceptance checks at sites receiving waste.

The results have included several high-profile court cases and increased scrutiny during compliance inspections.

Operators of inert waste sites have been reminded of their legal obligations under their Environmental Permit or relevant exemption and, where aggregate is produced by the site, the need to:

  • Meet the terms of the Aggregates from Inert Waste Quality Protocol
  • Provide an accompanying Factory Production Control Manual supported by the relevant testing regime.

Increasingly, Wiser Environment is being contacted by operators of such facilities seeking assistance with responding to EA requests for amendments to their management systems and waste acceptance procedure documentation.

Don’t wait till you hear from the EA, contact us today on 01480 462 232!

Are you up to date with evolving Fire Prevention Plan guidance?

Wiser Environment looks at the development of Fire Prevention Plan guidance over the last twelve months.

Whilst there have been no formal updates to the Environment Agency’s Fire Prevention Plan (FPP) Guidance since it was published on the 29th July 2016, the detail required within an FPP sufficient to achieve approval is constantly evolving.

Approved deviations from the minimum operating standards detailed within the guidance are slowly starting to be accepted. Alternative methods of detection and suppression are now being accepted within approved FPPs. Other examples of deviations from the guidance include accepting larger waste ‘piles’ but with, in the event of a fire, the creation of fire breaks using mobile plant to prevent a fire spreading.

Another change since the FPP guidance was last updated include the disbanding of the centralised fire panel in March 2017, with fire panel members now providing a support role to local officers who will review and approve FPPs, once an initial assessment had been made by the national permitting team during the ‘duly making’ process.

During recent public events the EA has confirmed that, like the FPPs themselves, the guidance should be treated as ‘living document’ with regular meetings held with key members of the fire service to discuss how events occurring in the industry can assist in improvement the contents of the current guidance. It will be interesting to see how recent tragic events impact the FPP guidance with regard to the proximity of waste to the walls of buildings, and the resilience of the building itself to fire.

For more information about fire prevention plans and the EA guidance contact Wiser Environment on 01480 462 232.