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Duty of Care code revised

Defra and Natural Resources Wales have published a revised Duty of Care code of practice following a waste industry consultation last year.

The sector-wide review, which received 117 responses until it closed in September, intended to reflect legislative changes introduced since the publication of the latest version of the document in 1996.

Like the 60-page original code, set out in the Environmental Protection Act 1990, the 13-page revised version applies to all holders of household, industrial and commercial waste in England and Wales.

The purpose of the requirements is to ensure that waste is dealt with responsibly and described and treated correctly.

Environment Agency (EA) deputy director of illegals and waste Mat Crocker said in September that: “If everybody applied their duty of care, the waste crime problem would go away.”

The Environmental Services Association (ESA) said in January that enforcement was needed to drive duty of care compliance, as it prepared for the launch of an awareness drive this month.

Its ’Right Waste, Right Place’ campaign will comprise a website and other materials at SMEs in its first phase from 11 April, funded by the EA.

second phase, jointly funded by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and the ESA Education Trust (ESAET), will target specific sectors when it launches in June, initially for construction and agriculture.

ESA head of regulation Sam Corp said the new code was ”understandably constrained” by the Government’s drive to streamline environmental guidance, which meant it did not provide practical case studies and examples relating to duty of care requirements.

”We hope that the ’Right Waste, Right Place’ campaign and website will help to plug this gap by both raising awareness of duty of care, providing real practical case studies of the business benefits of following duty of care and highlighting the consequences of failing to comply. Getting the message out about duty of care is vital in the drive to keep waste out of the hands of waste criminals.”

the CIWM commended the new code of practice for its clarity and accessibility, but said many of its members felt it was important not to lose some of the detail and best practice in the original document.

It said some of this information would be incorporated into the campaign.

Waste crime has been estimated by the ESAET to cost the UK economy £568m a year.

The Scottish Government last updated its Duty of Care code in October 2012, and in July 2015 a spokesperson told MRW: “There are currently no plans for any further revisions of the code.”

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