John Veale of Kangs Solicitors takes a look at the complex regulatory regime that governs the collection, sorting and disposal of waste material.
The Current Regime | Environment Agency Solicitors
The regulations governing the waste industry were introduced as the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010 (EPR) although there have been subsequent amendments.
Basically, it is an offence to undertake a waste operation without an Environmental Permit granted by the Environment Agency (EA).
The offence will be committed where there is no Permit in existence or where a valid Permit has been issued, but the waste operation is not being conducted in accordance with that Permit.
Exemptions from the Permitting Regime | Solicitors for the Waste Industry
The EPR provide for certain exemptions which generally affect small scale waste operations where the risk to the environment/health is small.
However, an exemption may be obtained in other situations such as, for example, for a site where there are large permitted waste operations in place and an exemption may be required for a certain tonnage of inert waste to be used in the construction of roadways on the site itself.
Such an exemption must be registered with the EA and providing the operator keeps within its terms, it will not be necessary to apply and pay for a Permit.
The Previous Regime | Solicitors for Waste Management Licenses
Prior to the EPR coming into force, the waste industry was regulated by Waste Management Licences issued by the EA.
The conduct of a waste operation without a Licence was an offence under the Environmental Protection Act 1990,as was the breach of the terms of the License.
The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 converted all existing Licences into Permits which subsequently became regulated under the EPR.
Therefore, all waste management operations, no matter when they commenced, are now governed by the same regime that is enforced by the EA.
Obtaining a Permit | Environment Agency Permit Solicitors
In order to open a new waste operation, close liaison is required with the EA to obtain the appropriate Permit conditions enabling the scale and type of operation to be conducted.
It may also be the case that planning permission will have to be obtained from the local authority, which can be a complicated and expensive task.
Experts may have to be instructed to conduct assessments in relation to possible local contamination risks in order to satisfy both the EA and local authority that the proposed operation will be safe to run.
Risk of Prosecution | Solicitors Defending Environment Agency Cases
The Regulations are detailed and complex and it is easy to fall foul of the EA or local authority.
If you have been issued with a Compliance Assessment Form from the EA it is important to seek legal advice immediately in order to safeguard the business and your personal position.
Early and effective legal advice, as well as a proactive approach to the enquiries of the EA, may prevent Prosecution at a later date.
How can we help you? | Kangs Solicitors
At Kangs Solicitors, we have a wealth of experience in dealing with the EA.
We are able to assist you by:
- Formulating a reply to any notices served by the EA
- Dealing with any general enquiries from the EA
- Advising you on the regulatory regime and requirements that governs your business
- Advising you on the steps to take to ensure that your business is compliant with the EPR
- Representing you at any interviews with EA officers.
- Defending any prosecution brought by the EA for any regulatory breaches
We have a proven track record in dealing with the above matters and we welcome you contacting our team of solicitors through either of the following, who will be happy to discuss your situation with you.