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Inert waste review prompts abuse and confusion concerns

Concerns about the details of the Governments review of Inert Waste Regulations have been raised by Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC) and the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

LARACs response to the consultation warned that protocols could be open to abuse and certain proposals in the consultation document could impact on flytipping, while the CIOB said proposals could add to the regulatory burden of the construction sector.

LARAC said it supported the review overall but warned that quality protocols could allow bias towards profit enhancement over environmental protection. It said: Protocols rely on a subjective approach to formulate objective outputs. For example, in the quality protocol for the production of aggregates from inert wastes, it says a visual inspection shall be carried out, LARAC would advocate such subjective quality control procedures, when tested, would be biased towards enhancement of profit. Hence the objective methods for determining contamination of inert materials should be implemented at the point of origin and not just the at the point of processing.

LARAC also said the ongoing review of the Waste Framework Directive could help to clarify the issue saying it was not currently clear whether you had to meet the quality protocol or not.
According to LARAC, guidance could become fogged if it merely provides another debating platform to deviate from the meaning and spirit of the regulations.

It was suggested that a common waste characterisation framework would lessen the burden on
regulators because a permit system would not be needed, but it added not having a permit system does allow an avenue for abuse.

It also suggested that the Environment Agency should be given powers to adapt requirements of the regulations to specific sites.

However, the CIOB said: The proposals could expose the construction industry to a duplicate and uncertain approval process under the emerging Environmental Permitting regime.
It also said that: The proposals do not consider the role and robustness of extant planning legislation, which effectively permits, controls, validates and verifies what takes place on any conventional construction site.

Proposals fail to address two important issues to the UK construction industry - the need for clarity on the UK Governments definition of waste, and the availability of a comprehensive series of Soil Guideline Values.

The CIOB said: We believe that the proposals will not only affect how we continue to approach the redevelopment of contaminated land, but they will also have a significant effect on all new construction projects.

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