Campaigners UK Recyclate has called on the Environment Agency (EA) to take action against waste collection authorities that have used “fig leaf” justifications for implementing commingled kerbside recycling collections.
UK Recyclate director Andy Moore indicated he is also considering taking legal action against local authorities he accused of conducting poor assessments of whether separate collections are technically, environmentally and economically practicable (TEEP) under the Waste Framework Directive.
His comments were prompted by an EA survey, which found four authorities that should have carried out a TEEP assessment had failed to do so. Thirty-eight authorities did not respond to the survey and many have not made their assessment public.
Moore said a number of TEEP assessments he had examined were poorly conducted and failed to set out convincing reasons to implement or carry on with commingled collections.
He said: “The EA must have come across instances which they think are challengeable. But they haven’t for some reason, and I don’t know why that is.
“The agency can challenge authorities at any time. They have the resources to go through the assessments more systematically.”
Moore called on the EA to say why no challenge has been made.
“If their lawyers had indicated none of the cases are actionable, let’s hear about it,” he added. “If the answer is they haven’t got the resources, then let the world hear about that.”
In December 2014 the EA published guidance on separate collections and WRAP launched the Waste Regulations Route Map to help local authorities with their legal obligations.
Moore said: “If a case went to court, the extent to which the local authority had followed the procedure given in the Route Map would be something on which a legal case could hang.
“Some assessments are very good and have used the route map.”
It is commonplace for local authorities to use external consultants to carry out TEEP assessments.
The Waste Framework Directive requires waste collection authorities to separately collect glass, paper, plastic and metal from households.
The EA has been asked for comment for this story.