The latest data on the MRF sampling scheme for operators in England and Wales has shown another slight fall in the number of English facilities reporting, as original Whitehall expectations are challenged.
Only 86 MRFs in England notified the Environment Agency (EA) for the Q3 2015 period, one fewer than for the previous quarter, in the latest data released by WRAP.
Two registered MRFs failed to submit their sampling data compared with one in the previous quarter.
The number of notifications is still fewer than half the 200 facilities that Whitehall officials originally expected to qualify for the regime in England, previously revealed by MRW.
WRAP said the EA had contacted 120 sites it believed fell within the regulations’ scope which had not registered. But the majority of responses showed that these facilities did not reach the threshold for notification – only MRFs receiving 1,000 tonnes of material a quarter qualify.
The charity said the number of notified sites in England is ”significantly lower than originally anticipated” but it expects it to increase in the future.
”Facilities self-register to notify, and it is anticipated that other facilities (such as new builds) will sign up in the future,” it said.
Despite the fact that the sampling regime has been running for a year, WRAP said it was not yet in a position to comment on whether standards at MRFs had improved or not.
A number of MRFs are still struggling to provide accurate sampling figures. The EA raised queries on 60 of the returns for England, around a 23% decrease on the previous quarter. Natural Resources Wales queried all 10 Welsh MRF submissions.
WRAP said: ”Even though there is now 12 months of sampling data, the continued newness of sampling requirements and supplying this data, along with the considerations regarding data quality … it is still appropriate to show only general observations on the data.”
The average percentage of target material received by responding MRFs in Q3 was similar to the previous quarter for both countries, with 86.1% for England and 88% for Wales compared with 86.5% and 88.8%, respectively, last time around.
The total weight of material entering English MRFs in Q3 was 817,851 tonnes, which is 72,000 tonnes less than the previous quarter.
The Environmental Services Association posted on social media: “The important thing at the moment is making sure the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales carry out at least two inspections per annum, which will build confidence in the data.”
Data for October to December 2015 is expected in May.