In particular, the Partnership says that the proposals fail to include measures to enable waste producers to better comply with their responsibilities. The comments come in a detailed consultation response to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from Cllr Eric Buckmaster, chair of the Hertfordshire Waste Partnership (HWP).
In the HWP’s response sent last month, Cllr Buckmaster reasons that “an effectively functioning and properly regulated ‘transporter and controller’ system” has to start with waste producers who act in accordance with their duty of care responsibilities.
However, he said this hasn’t been achieved in Defra’s suggestions, saying: “Disappointingly neither the need for the existing register to be vastly improved or measures to educate waste producers have been addressed in the government’s proposals. Being able to significantly influence waste producer behaviour has just as much potential to improve the current situation as do the reforms being suggested”.
The Defra consultation was launched in January as part of efforts to “clamp down” on waste crime (see letsrecycle.com story).
At the centre of proposals are plans to move from a registration to a permit-based system which would mean those transporting or making decisions about waste must demonstrate they are competent to make those decisions.
Defra said waste is often handled by intermediaries who conceal their identities to commit serious and organised waste crime.
The government department claimed the increased checks will ensure waste is managed by authorised persons only and in a safe manner, making it harder for unregistered operators to find work in the sector.
Putting the Partnership’s response into context, Cllr Buckmaster explains that the HWP is made up of 11 partner authorities including 10 boroughs and districts in their capacity as waste collection authorities as well as the county council as the waste disposal authority. He says that: “During 2020/21 the HWP recorded 17,963 incidents of fly tipping with a cost to Hertfordshire’s tax payers of around
Given the figures, he said: “We are disappointed that the government’s proposals contain nothing of substance designed to tackle the 200,000+ illegal waste operators thought to be currently operating in the UK”.
The HWP chair also warned that the new system must be simple to understand to avoid companies falling into non-compliance, and also that it should tackle “poor operating standards by registered waste carriers that are detrimental to the public realm”.
The proposals “run the risk of being merely seen as an income generating exercise”
– Cllr Buckmaster, Hertfordshire Waste Partnership
The letter warned that without specific measures to tackle illegal waste operators, the proposals “run the risk of being merely seen as an income generating exercise”.
The councillor also explained the extent to which waste producers, legitimate operators and those bordering on the edge of compliance engage with the new regime will be reflected in the amount of resource that is put into an industry awareness campaign.
In terms of harm caused to the public realm by existing operators is the issue of using the wrong sort of receptacles such as catering waste in plastic bags, oil/liquid waste, plastic film or shredded paper in bags or open bins; or in a way that easily causes spillages during the handling and collection process.
Cllr Buckmaster also recommended the government to consider setting up a sector liaison body so that registered businesses can better see what their fees are spent on and have an easier to way help with self-policing of the sector.
Hertfordshire Waste Partnership