The judicial review (JR) into the waste regulations on collections faces fresh delays after Defra sought to postpone the hearing for a second time, MRW has learned.
The High Court had been expected to hear the case this week but Defra told MRW it was “seeking agreement on a short extension to the stay” through discussions with the claimants.
A Defra spokesman said it was too early to say how long any further delay may be.
The claimant, Andy Moore, co-ordinator of the Campaign for Real Recycling (CRR), confirmed an extension had been sought by Defra.
The court had been due to reconvene on 13 June following the JR being delayed for six months in December 2012 after the government said they would review and amend the waste regulations and asked the court for a stay.
CRR chair, Mal Williams, said in December: “This adjournment was not our choice in taking the review forward. We would have preferred simply to have the contradictory paragraph 13(2) removed from the regulations by the judge. This matter could have been settled by Christmas.”
A consultation on the governments’ proposed amendments closed in April. Submissions seen by MRW indicate that there is little agreement on the proposed regulations from either side of the debate.
The proposed amendment would mean commingled collections could continue only where separate collections were not “technically, environmentally and economically practicable” (TEEP) or necessary to meet “appropriate quality standards”.
Both the Resource Association (RA), which represents reprocessors, and the London Borough of Waltham Forest, part of the North London Waste Authority, said the proposed changes did not adequately transpose the requirements of the rWFD.
The RA - which represents Aylesford Newsprint, Coca-Cola, Novelis, UPM, ECO Plastics and others said it was concerned the amendment switched the wording of the rWFD from ‘necessary’ to ‘appropriate’ quality standard – reprocessors believe this hands decisions on quality standards to waste management companies. The RA said this created “uncertainty and confusion in the recycling chain” and diminished the importance of quality standards.
Defra should have set in place discussions on quality standards and regulation earlier, the RA said, so that reprocessors could “have confidence” in its approach.
The RA said: “We feel we are left with no alternative at this stage other than to reject the Defra proposal.”
It called on Defra and the Welsh Government to consider reverting to the exact wording of the rWFD, but also reviewing the approach of the Scottish Government where commingling has a role only if quality meets the same standards as separately collected material.