Defra has today opened a new consultation proposing greater flexibility around waste transfer notes and some other minor changes to waste legislation as part of the Government's Red Tape challenge to review and remove unnecessary regulation.

The Duty of Care

Under Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 anyone who produces, carries, imports, keeps, treats or disposes of waste has a legal duty of care to ensure the waste is handled safely and is only passed to people who are authorised to receive it. Whenever waste is transferred from one party to another a waste transfer note must be completed to show the waste is being dealt with properly.

A waste transfer note is used to record the amount of waste transferred, how it is packaged and provide a description of the waste, so that subsequent holders are able to manage the waste appropriately. This must be kept for two years.

The Proposed Changes

In summary the consultation proposes:

The use of alternative documentation such as invoices, orders and receipts to record the written description of waste currently recorded on waste transfer notes; Possible revisions to the written description of waste requirements under Regulation 35 of the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011; Reinstating the procedures on how waste carriers can produce evidence of their authorisation to transport waste when this is not done at the time of a request by an enforcement officer;

Expanding the list of relevant offences the Environment Agency / Natural Resources Wales can take into account when registering waste carriers, brokers and dealers.

The consultation runs from 9 December 2013 to 20 January 2014.

Implications of Changes

The proposed changes could have a significant impact on the transportation of waste, especially for those operators who have chosen not to use the voluntary Electronic Duty of care which is due to be introduced in January 2014, so all interested parties should consider how they would like to respond. Our Environment Team would be happy to help with any responses.