DEFRA proposes to make it harder to obtain permits

In the latest industry consultation, DEFRA is proposing to raise the standard of operator competence, potentially making it much harder to obtain a good OPRA rating and a permit.

Last month, we advised that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) opened a consultation into proposals to tackle waste crime in England and Wales. Blaming criminal activity and poor performance in the waste industry for undermining efforts to improve resource efficiency, DEFRA is looking at how the UK could achieve the ambition of becoming a world leader in resources efficiency and resource productivity with zero avoidable waste by 2050.

Following an in depth review of the consultation we can advise that DEFRA is aiming to raise the standard of operator competence at permitted sites by proposing the following steps:

  • Widening the scope of offences, behaviour and relevant persons that the regulators can take account of when assessing competence
  • Requiring all permitted waste operators to manage and operate in accordance with a more robust written management system
  • Requiring all permitted waste operators, and therefore all Technically Competent Managers, to demonstrate a high standard of technical knowledge of their waste site
  • Requiring the operator of any permitted site to be financially capable of running their waste business and provide financial security

With a greater focus on operator competence, these steps will change the operational risk appraisal (OPRA). To take these in to account, the Environment Agency proposes to widen the definition of relevant offences that are searched and reviewed at the point of application submission. This will enable regulators to gather the correct level of information about individuals, which will not be restricted to relevant offences within the waste sector, and as a result greatly impact the OPRA score of a site or prevent operators form obtaining permits.

The consultation closes on 15th March. Responses can be given here.