I’ve been surprised at the response to some of my articles, and the way in which some waste operators have reviewed their own systems in response.
In fact, in June, I was astounded to receive an email following a phone discussion back in February!
Now, I always make a point of returning calls and following up enquiries, or I like to think I am proactive enough regarding these matters.
The problem and situation was a common theme with operators, especially when a permitted site is used and a rogue operator has failed to mention their permit has been revoked.
It’s a regular story. Not for the fi rst time this landed the legitimate operator with an Environment Agency enquiry, and the prospect of a prosecution.
There’s always an element of judgement after the event in such circumstances by the regulator. But it’s important the operator is given a chance to show they were a victim rather than a willing perpetrator who is conniving with the rogue operator – as the EA inspector might view it.
It’s vital to check all waste operators have the appropriate authorities – including exemptions. This is prerequisite, so if the operator fails to comply – then both are carrying out illegal activity.
The duty of care is a code of practice, but also a legal duty. So checking that waste is handled properly, while acting on feedback to the contrary, is prudent. As is knowledge that contracts are in place for subsequent use.
In my experience, knowledge of where the waste ultimately ends up makes for a sensible risk assessment, and a record must always be kept.
The advice from the EA is to review the terms of waste contracts and include alternative disposal and recycling options; especially if the low gate price is below the cost of disposal. If this is the case, then it probably is too good to be true.
EA suggest this is good practice, and allows them to focus on those deliberately mismanaging waste.
Conducting checks and reviewing matters thoroughly is the way forward here, as well as being responsive to the EA enquiry, which, admittedly, is no easy task.
A NEW £20 million fund that aims to explore new ideas and innovations that can bring changes in the UK’s plastics manufacturing and consumption patterns has been announced by Science Minister, Sam Gyimah.
The Plastics and Research Innovation Fund (PRIF) will engage Britain’s best scientists and innovators to help move the country towards circular economic and sustainable approaches.
It will be managed by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) and delivered via the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), Innovate UK, and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). .
Science Minister Sam Gyimah said: “There’s been incredible 22 SHWM July, 2018
THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE LAW
Time is always of the essence when dealing with EA enquiries
WASTE lawyer DOMINIC MCNABB is an experienced solicitor in private practice with MJP solicitors.
He has more than 20 years of experience defending both individuals and companies, in both criminal and regulatory legal-related matters.
CALL NOW: 0773 3264226 dominic.mc
The advantage of legal advice is the fact legal privilege attaches to such communications, so a sensible review and consideration can be given – saving the fact that I did not receive the February information until June!
Remember too, time is of the essence.
As it happens, now I have been in touch with my mystery emailer, it has been clear the conduct complained of, or causing the initial enquiry by the EA, has been robustly denied and that denial will be maintained if an under-caution interview is required.
One of the strange aspects to this type of problem is the perception of the operator when the EA makes contact. The EA are often treated as potential defendants rather than being considered victims, which a proper system of checks and audits can help establish.
For me it was an eye-opener as I had assumed the technology and communication in this ‘computer age’ would not have blocked such an enquiry, but have now revised and checked the position properly so as to avoid a repetition. A gain, for me, I’ve discovered it is good practice to learn from mistakes.
The opportunity to attend WASTE’18 at the WEC on July 5 may be one for my erstwhile client to attend, and I can at least buy the coff ees to make any amends.
Minister announces £20 million Plastics Research and Innovation Fund CALL DOMINIC: 0773 3264226
progress in making people aware of the danger that plastic can do to our environment and our oceans.”
The fund will have three parts which will involve:
• Leadership and Knowledge Exchange: UK Circular Plastics Network funding ~ £2 million
• Research: Plastics ‘Creativity’ funding ~ £8 million
• Business led research and development: Plastics ‘Innovation’ funding ~ £10 million
UKRI will work together with the sustainability experts WRAP to network and connect this fund with initiatives across business, government and the research and innovation community.
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