The Environment Agency (EA) has praised the sector for an “amazing” response to its proposals for moving to more performance-based regulation, saying it was “overwhelmed”.
But the EA has also recognised concern that changes may be rushed, and it has revised the timetable ahead of full implementation in 2020.
Earlier this year, the EA announced it wanted to put waste site operators into one of four bands, with those classified under ‘improvement/significant improvement needed’ being targeted for enforcement or remediation action. Better performing sites would face fewer inspections.
On 26 July, the Environmental Services Association, along with senior executives of some of the UK’s largest waste management firms, reached an agreement with the EA over establishing such a scheme.
On 18 July, the EA wrote to those who had responded to an informal consultation, saying: “Your response was amazing – we didn’t ever imagine we would get so much interest, ideas and positive suggestions.
“We appreciate the time you spent in responding to our informal consultation and we were truly overwhelmed by your interest. It’s great to know that this topic has sparked so much debate.”
The EA said the insight would be reflected in amendments to the key indicators.
It also acknowledged concern that the timescales for introducing performance-based regulation were too rushed.
In response, it has revised the plan to accommodate face-to-face sessions with trade associations and members in September/October, and promised that external consultation in January 2018 will fully reflect feedback.
The changes will be piloted in 2019 ahead of planned implementation in 2020. The EA is working towards linking performance-based regulation to charging for all extended producer responsibility regimes after April 2021.