Proposed changes to technical competence requirements for waste sites have been released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in a consultation document. The changes will affect waste management operators, regulators and those with an interest in environmental compliance and permitting systems. Defras fourth Environmental Permitting Programme (EPP) consultation aims to reduce red tape without changing the levels of protection. EPP guidance will replace existing lengthy guidance for the waste management licensing and pollution prevention and control systems, said Defra. Exceptions to this include activities regulated by local authorities, where General Guidance Manuals will be updated to reflect changes to the system. The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and the Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB) have jointly submitted a proposal for a revised scheme for operators. And the Environmental Services Association (ESA) and EU Skills have also submitted a joint scheme. CIWM chief executive Steve Lee said: The joint CIWM/WAMITAB proposal aims to provide a relatively simple scheme that meets the needs of an increasingly complex waste management industry. The submission puts forward three key changes to the current technical competence scheme. It acknowledges and caters for different risk levels to reflect the range of waste treatment technologies now in use; it provides flexibility to accommodate individual learning preferences; and it establishes a framework for continuing competence for professionals to show that they are keeping pace with changes in our sector. ESA senior policy executive Sam Corp said: The ESA/EU Skills proposal would allow competence to be demonstratedby accreditation against a new industry standard for operator Competence Management Systems (CMS). In the CMS approach, explicit technical and managerial competences would be determined for each type of facility and would be demonstrated by management systems which would be externally verified. All individuals in the organisation would require the relevant competences required to undertake their jobs. Evidence of individuals competence could be demonstrated by vocational qualifications, unit certificates qualifications derived from National Occupational Standard or by other assessed competences. The deadline for comments about the consultation to be sent to Defra is October 10 2007.