On the 6th April 2014 an amendment to the main Waste Regulations for England and Wales came into force.
The changes, although minor in detail, could have a big impact on the way businesses discharge their ‘duty of care’ obligations with regards non-hazardous waste.
‘Duty of care’ in relation to waste is the cornerstone of waste law in the UK, and places a duty on anyone who in any way has a responsibility for controlled waste to ensure that it is managed properly and recovered or disposed of safely.
Waste Transfer Notes
Key to this since 1991 has been the Waste Transfer Note ‘ a document which accompanies each movement of non-hazardous controlled waste and contains important information about the type of waste being moved, its quantity, address details of the waste producer and the carrier.
Waste Transfer Notes have historically been used by the waste regulators, such as the Environment Agency, to track and ensure the safe and legal movement of non-hazardous waste throughout the waste management chain.
The new Regulations amend the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011 by effectively removing the legal requirement for a Waste Transfer Note to be in place for each movement of waste and instead allow the use of ‘Written Information’ to cover the transfer of waste on any other documentation which forms part of the waste transaction.
‘Written Information’ must still meet strict requirements and include certain information that was found on the Waste Transfer Note, but this change in legislation paves the way for the replacement of Waste Transfer Notes with other documents, such as invoices or collection receipts.
The information which must still be used on documentation includes:
(a) A description of the waste including its 6 digit code from the List of Wastes Regulations 2005 and stateâ€”
- its quantity and whether it is loose or in a container,
- if in a container, the kind of container,
- the time and place of transfer, and
- the SIC code of the transferor;
(b) The name and address of the transferor and the transferee and be signed by them;
(c) Whether each of the transferor and transferee areâ€”
- the producer of the waste,
- the importer of the waste,
- the transporter of the waste,
- a local authority,
- a holder of an environmental permit under the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, in which case the note must include the permit number (if any),
- a person carrying on an operation to which section 33(1)(a) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 does not apply by virtue of regulation 68(2) of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2010,
- a person registered as a carrier of controlled waste under the Control of Pollution (Amendment) Act 1989, in which case the note must include the registration number (if any),
- a person registered as a broker of or dealer in controlled waste, in which case the note must include the registration number (if any);
(d) confirm that the transferor has discharged the duty in regulationÂ 12 in relation to the waste hierarchy.
The amendment doesn’t revoke Waste Transfer Notes so these can still be used as before, including annual Waste Transfer Notes or ‘season tickets’ as they’re sometimes known. However with the launch of edoc ‘ the electronic duty of care online system in January 2014, which provides an alternate system for the management of Waste Transfer Notes by eliminating the need for paper-based documents ‘ the Government seems to be moving towards a more flexible approach to waste management documentation.
The only question that remains is whether this relaxing of paperwork requirements will help streamline duty of care evidence by reducing paperwork per transaction, or whether the evidence of waste transactions will become lost in financial, transport or other office paperwork. The decision, as they say, is yoursâ€¦