The Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005 No 894) set out the regime for the control and tracking of the movement of hazardous waste for the purpose of implementing the Hazardous Waste Directive (Directive 91/698/EC).
The Regulations extend to England and Wales although the only provisions that apply to Wales are modifications to the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Separate hazardous waste regulations apply to Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The definition of the Regulations define Hazardous waste and set out how the Regulations apply to that waste.
Part 4 bans the mixing of hazardous waste unless it is permitted as part of a disposal or recovery operation in accordance with the Waste Framework Directive.
Part 5 makes it an offence to remove hazardous waste from premises which have not been notified to the Environment Agency, unless they are exempt premises or the waste has been fly tipped.
Part 6 requires documents to be completed whenever hazardous waste is removed from premises (which include removal from ships and removal by pipeline). The various types of form are set out in Schedules 4 to 7. This is to ensure that an accurate description of consignments of waste accompanies them whenever they move. This is in addition to any requirements to ensure hazardous waste is properly packaged and labelled
Registration/ Notification Procedure
The following information is required to complete registration:
• The number of employees (within a range)
• Standard Industrial Classification Code
• Companies Havso registration number (if companies are Limited or plc)
• A valid email address
Records and Returns
Part 7 requires producers, holders, carriers, consignors and consignees to keep records. The must be kept for a minimum of 3 years in case of carriers where the period is 12 months.
Key Action Steps
• Register site if required
• Do not mix hazardous waste
• Keep hazardous waste records
• Notify Environment Agency of any changes in hazardous waste being produced.
The Agency's functions
Part 8 sets out the Agency's functions. In particular, the Agency is required to inspect producers of hazardous waste periodically and to keep any records sent to it pursuant to Part 7 for a minimum of 3 years.
Emergencies and Grave Danger
Part 9 imposes duties on holders of hazardous waste and the Environment Agency in the event of an emergency or grave danger which arises from hazardous waste.
Part 10 makes it an offence for failure to comply with the requirements of these Regulations. The maximum penalty for failure to comply with a requirement imposed by or under the regulations is level 5 on the standard scale (currently £5,000). The Agency may issue fixed penalty notices of £300 instead of seeking conviction in relation to such offences. Other offences under the Regulations (including the provision of false information) are subject to a maximum fine of level 5 if tried summarily and higher fines and also imprisonment if tried on indictment.
Part 11 covers amendments to other legislation and part 12 contained transitional provisions.
Environment Agency approach to enforcement
On their website the EA state that they will target those waste streams with the greatest likelihood of being mismanaged and where the environment or public health could be put at risk as a result. Any enforcement action taken will be in line with the published Enforcement and Prosecution Policy.
Priority will be given to activities involving hazardous waste that have the potential to cause pollution of the environment or harm to human health.
Enforcement action will normally be taken where:
• Hazardous waste is disposed of at unlicensed sites;
• Hazardous waste is miss-described as non hazardous or deliberately mixed with non hazardous waste in an attempt to reclassify it as non hazardous waste;
• Hazardous waste (including WEEE) is exported to developing countries;
• Landfill operators do not follow waste acceptance procedures
• Those currently producing special waste fail to comply with the new Hazardous Waste
The EA will keep this approach under review and may publish amendments in the light of operational expertise. In particular, returns made under the Hazardous Waste Regulations and intelligence from industry as a result of applying waste acceptance law relating to newly hazardous waste is expected to improve over the first 6 months as awareness amongst producer's increases.
The Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005 were amended on 6 April 2009. This principally widened the scope of the exemption from hazardous waste producer registration:
• All types of premises that produce hazardous waste are now exempt from registration if no more than 500kg of hazardous waste is produced in a year.
• More details on registrations can be found on the Environment Agency's Web site.
• These changes only affect England. The Welsh Assembly Government is consulting on changes to the Hazardous Waste (Wales) Regulations 2005 and the consultation can be found on the Welsh Assembly Government web site.
The Environment Agency www.environment-agency.gov.uk/