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MRF sampling charges outlined in consultation

A consultation on how charging for Material Recycling Facility (MRF) inspections will work has been launched by the Environment Agency (EA).

MRFs handling more than 1,000 tonnes of mixed dry household waste a year will have to be audited as part of enforcement of the MRF Code of Practice, which will come into force in England and Wales in October.

The Environment Agency is proposing to charge facilities £2,240 a year for inspections in order to recover the costs of the auditing regime.

In an impact assessment of the MRF code, Defra had estimated that inspections would costs around £1,800 per site per year, for a total of over £314,600 a year for all MRFs.

The EA said the charge of £2,240 is more than an “originally envisaged figure of £2,000” because the agency has “a clearer understanding” of the amount of data that will have to be handled and will need more resources and a system to manage it.

The consultation document said that the work will include:

  • maintaining records of who has notified as qualifying,
  • one pre-arranged inspection per site each year to check sampling, measuring and recording systems to ensure reported data is representative,
  • one unannounced inspection per site each year for the same purpose,
  • a small number of short additional visits to underperformers,
  • receipt of reported data, chasing missing submissions, putting it on public registers, dealing with data queries and forwarding the combined data set for publication on the web,
  • administrative and IT system support costs associated with the above.

The consultation is seeking views on these activities and the charge. Respondents can send feedback here until 20 June.

The charge will be due in February of each year, starting from 2016. The first charge in February 2015, which covers the period ending 31 December 2014, will be £750 to reflect the Code will come in to force late in the year.

The EA said around 200 facilities will be included in the inspection regime.

MRFs not affected by the regulations include those sorting just one stream of waste, such as Household Waste Recycling Facilities, Mechanical Biological Treatment and WEEE facilities.

The consultation is also seeking views on charging for using the Definition of Waste panel advisory facility.

The panel help businsses to identify whether their products meet end-of waste criteria.

The EA said the work of the panel is currently unfunded and unsustainable, and is proposing an hourly charge of £125, capped at £5,000.

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