Cuts at the Environment Agency (EA) have led to the temporary closure of its Definition of Waste panel.
An email to stakeholders from EA definition of waste adviser Redwynn Sterry said the panel was closed to all new end-of-waste and by-product submissions from 16 September for three months.
Previously, recyclers contacted the EA with product details and the panel would decide whether it qualified for end-of-waste status. Any new submissions received during the closed period will be deleted, although the EA’s general end-of-waste guidance and self-assessment tool are still available.
The agency plans to review the situation in mid-November.
Renewable Energy Association (REA) technical director Jeremy Jacobs told MRW his members would be affected adversely by the change and blamed the closure on EA staff cuts.
“I am aware that a number of members have submitted applications for consideration which will now be delayed considerably. The EA is shedding more staff and [the panel] has gone from eight full-time employees to one.”
MRW understands that more than 50 of the EA’s 560 staff in the policy team covering environment and business are going this month under Whitehall’s ‘early leaving’ scheme.
One of them, Mat Crocker, deputy director of illegals and waste, announced his departure in a speech at RWM.
At the time, an EA spokesperson said: “All redundancy compensation and exit payments are determined transparently and in accordance with clear public sector guidelines, and are only allowed if they generate savings.”
Referring to the service withdrawal, an EA spokesperson has now said: “We want to encourage all businesses affected to read our guidance and use the IsItWaste self-assessment tool.”