The Environment Agency (EA) will start inspect materials recycling facilities (MRFs) in January, following a three-month hiatus after the introduction of a mandatory testing and reporting regime.
As part of the Code of Practice that came into force in October, operators of MRF handling more than 1,000 tonnes of materials a year will need to take samples of their input and output and send quarterly reports to the EA.
The regulations also state that the EA will inspects facilities twice a year, one of which will be unannounced.
Three of the main waste management companies in the UK had told MRW that by mid-December none of their facilities had been inspected.
A spokesperson for the EA has now confirmed inspections will start in January 2015. This was due to delays in Defra approving a proposed charging plan that would cover the costs of the inspections.
In a consultation conducted in April the agency had said that operators would be charged £750 for the period between 1 October and 31 December. Thereafter, the charge would be £2,240 per year.
The spokesperson for the EA said the £2,240 charge will apply for 2014-15. A 2% increase could be introduced from April 2015, but this is still under discussion.
Jakob Rindegren, recycling policy advisor at the Environmental Services Association, told MRW: “While it is disappointing that inspections did not commence when expected, we now hope that they will start as soon as possible.”
Defra told MRW it was “considering the impact of this proposal”.