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Competence rules fears raised

A “worrying number” of waste treatment and metals recycling facilities face losing their licences for failing to comply with new competence rules, sector chiefs have warned.  

The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) said there could be “a significant shortfall in the number of people who have taken the Continuing Competence test compared to the number of sites”.

The shortfall could be as much as 75% for some types of facilities and the CIWM has urged managers to complete their qualification by the fast-approaching 29 February deadline.  

The CIWM said: “If site operators fail to take action by the deadline, the Environment Agency will no longer accept them as technically competent.

“This could result in some sites being unable to operate legally under their permit or having to make special arrangements to show that they are being managed by people who are still technically competent.”

CIWM chief executive, Steve Lee, left, added: “There is no excuse for anyone to miss the deadline; the half-hour test can be booked in advance through WAMITAB and there are test centres across the UK.

“This sector has worked hard to improve its professionalism and image and should not be let down by those who are willing to risk criminal proceedings rather than demonstrate that they have kept their knowledge up to date.”

The EA said last month it was stepping up its compliance activity in this area because it was concerned at the low level of take up of the continuing competence test.

EA environment & business senior advisor, Steve Eland, said: “We will provide operators with advice and guidance on how to comply and will take enforcement action against those who are unwilling to comply with the requirements by 29 February. 

“Enforcement action can range from service of an enforcement notice to revocation of the permit. 

“Any action we take in the event of non-compliance will depend on the circumstances in accordance with our Enforcement & Sanctions Position.”

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