27 November 2018 by Elizabeth Slow

Fines for householders but delays on exemptions

Financial penalties of up to £400 for householders who fail to ensure they give their waste to a licensed carrier have moved a step closer this week as legislation is laid in parliament.

Defra confirmed it will introduce a fixed penalty notice for breaches of the household waste duty of care

The announcement from Defra yesterday (26 November) came with the publication of the government’s response to its consultation on tackling poor performance in the waste sector more widely.

Launched at the start of the year (15 January), the consultation looked at further action to crack-down on illegal sites and covered new powers for local authorities to fine householders for using illegal operators (see letsrecycle.com story).

FPN

In its response, Defra confirmed it would be introducing the proposed fixed penalty notice (FPN) for breaches of the household waste duty of care. This will be done through legislation in England this year and in Wales early next year.

The FPN will provide councils with “an alternative enforcement option to prosecuting offenders through the courts,” Defra said, which can currently be a “lengthy and costly” process.

And, the response covers the waste sector more directly. New measures also include a requirement for all waste facilities to have a written management plan to minimise the risks of pollution to the environment, and making it harder for applicants with relevant past offences to obtain a permit to operate a waste facility.

Defra explained it also intends to introduce further legislation next year which will clarify the legal requirement for “technical competence” for waste site operators.

Exemptions

However, in terms of precise technical changes to exemptions requirements, as proposed in the original consultation, Defra stopped short of any confirmation. Instead, the department said this was a measure it was “continuing to consider”.

According to Defra, exemptions have a “valuable role” in providing a “light-touch” form of regulation for small-scale, low risk waste management activities.

“The consultation reinforced the clear need to reform the 10 most problematic exemptions in order to prevent their use to cover illegal activity,” Defra said. “However, this needs to be done in a way that does not overly impact legitimate activities”.

A supplementary government response setting out its approach to exemptions will be published in due course.

Related links
Government response

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