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DEFRA promises hazardous waste "clear shift"

According to the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra),
proposed changes to the Hazardous Waste Regulations will mean a "clear shift" in
emphasis from waste managers to producers, producer notification and fixed penalty
notices.

At Wednesday's MRW organised Managing Hazardous Waste conference Andy
Howarth, head of the hazardous waste unit at Defra, outlined the impact that the
implementation of the Hazardous Waste Directive and changes to the hazardous waste
list will have.

With regulations currently being finalised and due to come into force July 16,
Howarth said that changes to the list will mean an increased number of producers and
an increased amount of hazardous waste "all against a backdrop of changes in
disposal routes and other requirements of the landfill directive."

Under the changes an annual registration with the Environment Agency for sites of
production is required with a proposed fee of £18 for electronic notification, rising to
£28 for paper registration. Electronic consignment charges will be £10, or £19 if made
on paper. Current consignment notes cost around £15.

Environment Agency hazardous waste policy manager Roy Watkinson said that with
the July implementation would come a new IT system that would handle registration,
consignee returns, compliance and monitoring. Registrations will be received by a
central unit, planned to be the new customer contact centre in Rotherham, manned by
specifically trained staff.

However, Watkinson said that the IT system would be "clarified later with the
regulations" but expected to have full functionality in time.
On the enforcement side, the EA is keen to promote a strong message. Watkinson
admitted that there is an illegal disposal risk but better separation will mean better
management.

He added: "At the moment the attitude to compliance seems ambivalent, but a climate
of compliance is expected. We will inspect more hazardous waste producers as we
have the power and resources to do this. There will be a focus on SMEs as many may
be less familiar with this issue."

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