BMRA: Defra’s waste crime consultation response disappointing

British Metals Recycling Association (BMRA) welcomes the publication of Government’s findings as a result of its consultation on Proposals to tackle crime and poor performance in the waste sector and to introduce a new fixed penalty for the waste duty of care. However, we are disappointed that key objectives of the consultation will not be addressed or have now been postponed.
Thommy Weiss, pixelio.de

We are concerned that there is seemingly no appetite to carry out a root and branch review of the waste carrier, broker or dealer licencing system. Currently, unlike the scrap metal dealer licencing system, there are few checks and balances made into those people applying for a waste carrier, broker or dealer licence. Neither is the fee commensurate with the responsibility that the waste carrier, broker or dealer will have placed on them. This could have been an ideal opportunity for Government to capture information that would allow it to better understand those people operating as a waste carrier, broker or dealer. It may also have made it easier to identify those operators that repeatedly collect, store and then abandon sites.

We are disappointed that further information about specific financial provision options and the potential changes to the exemption system will not now be released until 2019. While it is heartening that Defra states it remains committed to reforming the exemption system, delaying a decision, let alone implementing any changes, allows otherwise illegal operators to obtain an exemption to appear to be part of the regulated community whilst very often flouting all other environmental controls. Until reforms are enacted, these operators will continue unchecked thereby creating an uneven playing field for legitimate operators.

Finally, while we understand the potential effectiveness that a fixed penalty notice system might have, it will have little impact unless the wider general public is aware of their obligations and the penalties they risk should they not use an authorised person to handle their waste. Furthermore, there also needs to be great clarity of how a person can ‘appear’ to have failed to comply with their duty of care.

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