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Waste laws poised to be slashed

A raft of waste regulations are set for the axe, ministers have announced. 

Rules governing e-waste, hazardous waste and fly tipping are set to be scrapped as part of the Government’s Red Tape Challenge.

Defra also pledged that ministers would address producer concerns about the cost of recovering and recycling waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) through compliance schemes by 2014.

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman insisted environmental regulations would “remain as strong as ever but be made simpler and more effective”.

The red tape review, which has infuriated environmentalists, “will boost British business by more than £1bn over five years”, she added.  

Defra said: “Of 255 [environmental] regulations, 132 will be improved, mainly through simplification or consolidation; 70 will be kept as they are, to uphold important environmental protections; and 53 obsolete regulations will be removed. There will also be a new drive to introduce smarter implementation on the ground.”

The Environmental Services Association said ministers had struck a good balance between protecting vital environmental standards and reducing unnecessary regulation.

Head of regulation Sam Corp said: “We particularly welcome the proposals to streamline environmental permitting and increase its alignment with the planning regime.

“We will be looking carefully at the proposals for Waste Transfer Notes, to ensure any alternative system of recording waste movements does not make life easier for the minority who deliberately flout waste law.

“The proposed electronic system of WTNs may be more important in reducing red tape, and is a project we have been working on with the Environment Agency.

“We will also be looking carefully at the proposed simplification of some hazardous waste regulation, as this is an area where proper enforcement of rigorous regulation is vital.”

Ministers announced last September that environmental regulations would be scrutinised as part of the Red Tape Challenge.

The Cabinet Office programme, launched in April 2011, is designed to slash regulation ministers deem unnecessary.

As well as environmental rules, ministers have scrutinised equalities regulation; health and safety rules; employment laws; company and commercial law; and pensions rules.  

A full list of waste regulations under review can be found here: Red Tape Challenge – Environment Theme proposals.

Waste regulations in seven areas will be scrapped

Waste Transfer Notes

“We will look to free businesses from having to fill in Waste Transfer Notes by allowing them to use other forms of evidence instead, such as invoices, to record certain required information”

Hazardous waste

“The Environment Agency is keen to look to extend the current system to allow direct electronic upload of hazardous waste returns to reduce the amount of paperwork businesses have to produce.”

Waste carriers, brokers and dealers

“We will seek from the European Commission an exemption for micro businesses from the EU waste carriers, brokers and dealers registration requirements for businesses transporting their own waste. If successful, this will free businesses such as gardeners from this burden.”


“We are working to help local authorities improve access for small and medium enterprises to both their civic amenity sites and their kerbside collections. We are looking to remove some of the identified barriers to this by, for example, improving advice on charging structures; removing the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme regulations; addressing infrastructure gaps, storage constraints and planning and permitting issues; and reducing reporting requirements.”

Producer Responsibility Obligations

“We will look to exempt more small businesses from the battery producer responsibility regulations. We also plan to reduce burdens, especially on SMEs, in other ways (eg removing the requirement for some distributors to take back waste batteries and simplifying record keeping/reporting requirements and approval processes).”

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment

You told us that the amount producers have to pay for the collection, treatment, recovery and recycling of their market share of WEEE through producer compliance schemes is often much higher than the true costs of processing WEEE. BIS will introduce regulatory changes to address these concerns by 2014.

Site Waste Management Plans

“You told us to remove Site Waste Management Plans Regulations because they force companies to spend time and money estimating their waste production when they could be reducing waste through more effective activities, such as training employees. We propose to remove these regulations, which we agree are ineffective, along with other redundant regulations.”

Source: Red Tape Challenge – Environment Theme proposals.

Readers' comments (1)

  • All sounds wonderful - less to do, less money to make!

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