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DEFRA clarifies what it means by waste

What is municipal waste? That is the question that new guidance from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) looks to answer.

Defra has published a paper that will clarify the approach it, and the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG), will use to determine waste that authorities will have to publish for the purposes of the Landfill Allowance Trading Scheme (LATS) in England and the Landfill Allowance Scheme (LAS) in Wales. It has published this document, because, in order to fall within the LATS or LAS regime, the waste must be municipal waste.

It builds on both the Waste and Emissions Trading (WET) Act 2003, the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and also guidance published by Defra in August 2004.

Essentially, the aim of the guidance paper is to clarify what is meant in the regulations by "comes into the possession or under the control" of a waste collection authority (WCA) or waste disposal authority (WDA) when they have to deal with waste that is collected from homes or other bodies and areas.

In the WET Act, municipal waste is defined as "(a) waste from households, and (b) other waste that, because of its nature or composition, is similar to waste from households."

And in the August 2004 guidance, it said: "The Government's view is that the definition of municipal waste in the Landfill Directive encompasses all waste under the control of local authorities be they waste disposal, waste collection or unitary authorities."

The guidance goes on to give examples of what is included in municipal waste and looks at schools waste, gully waste, construction and demolition waste and payments for recycling.

It also looks at commercial waste and how this falls under LATS.

Additionally, it also looks at how the amount of biodegradable municipal waste is calculated that is sent to landfill.

The document will be available shortly at: http://defraweb/environment/waste/localauth/lats/guidance.htm

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