The Environment Agency has launched a consultation into further charging proposals following changes implemented in April 2018 on environmental permits.
The further changes are designed to add clarity to existing charging schemes, accommodate changes in costs of regulation, and make new charging scheme changes that were not included in the Strategic Review of Charges (SRoC) programme.
The proposals cover areas including: Environment Permitting Regulations (EPR) including closed landfill, and other EPR changes; and, producer responsibility – Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Compliance Scheme.
Proposals, which would come into effect in April 2019, include changes to the charges for some waste treatment installation applications.
In March the Agency published a new charging scheme for regulatory permits and services which it claimed would ensure businesses cover the costs of services rather than the public (see letsrecycle.com story).
The current charging scheme provides separate charge categories for hazardous and non-hazardous waste installation activities for environmental permitting.
In its latest round of consultation, launched this week, the Environment Agency said: “Since the introduction of this new charging scheme, we have identified a number of areas where the charging scheme can be improved or where it does not offer the range of charges to reflect the precise cost of our regulatory functions.”
While some charges to replace permit applications are unchanged, a number see the charge for application reduce. Proposals include a reduction in the charge for non-hazardous treatment in shredding metals waste from £13,984 to £12,357.
Also covered in the document are charges for closed landfill sites. Revised annual charges were covered in the previous consultation, relating to an Operator Risk Assessment. The ORA was designed to evidence that sites held the potential for low or very low impact on the environment. This would then allow for “less regulatory intervention, and ultimately lower annual charges for these sites,” said the Agency.
“Due to concerns raised by some sections of the industry about this approach we halted the implementation of the 2018 scheme annual charges for closed landfills,” the Agency said. “We have taken additional time to reassess our approach, also considering other options for how we might charge.”
According to the Agency, once the main commercial activity ceases “landfills can continue to present a threat to the wider environment for decades” and charges for closed landfills “have not kept up with the costs of regulation”.
The consultation puts forward two options for the charge:
Option 1: The annual charge that will apply for a specific permit will be based on the Landfill Type Category for that permit plus the total number of components that apply to that permit.
Option 2: This option has six categories of annual charge where the costs of the expected regulatory work at a closed landfill is aggregated into an annual bill.
The Environment Agency also said it intends to make minor amendments to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Producer Responsibility charges within the Waste (Miscellaneous) Charging Scheme.
“We are correcting the description of producer registration categories within this charging scheme to reflect the definitions used by the WEEE Regulations. We will be changing references to Value Added Tax (VAT) that determine the charge band for producer registrations, clarifying that registration is based on whether a producer is, or is not required to be, VAT registered.”