News

EA plans to tackle sites without competent managers

21/07/2016

~~Continuing concerns among regulators about a lack of technically competent managers at waste sites will mean that tougher requirements are introduced into legislation, a senior Environment Agency official has said.

And, today (21 July), the Environment Agency has called a consultation meeting at the offices of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in London to discuss a proposal to provide a statutory basis to the assessment of fit and proper person rules, regarding the operation of waste sites, and other requirements including the need for technically competent managers.

Confirmation that there will be a crackdown on sites without competent managers came from Agency official Paul Fernee who was speaking at last week’s Metals Recycling Event run by letsrecycle.com and held at Donington Park.

~~Mr Fernee is the team lead for metals and end of life vehicles at the Environment Agency. He told the audience that technical competence was one of the issues causing difficulties that had emerged under the “Waste Crime Action Plan” and that the Agency “had found low numbers or a lack of technically competent managers” on waste sites.

Database

He warned that actions will be taken against site operators and that “we are building databases to see which sites haven’t got them,” adding that requirements for businesses to have competent managers will be “going back into the regulations”.

Speaking to letsrecycle.com this week, one senior waste management industry representative said: “What we have often seen is larger companies who are trying to conform to the regulations around running waste sites and who employ technically competent managers. But, many medium or smaller-sized businesses aren’t taking this so seriously and it provides unfair competition.”

However there is also a potential shortage of qualified managers. The representative added: “We know it can also be hard sometimes to find good technically competent people to run a site.”

Defra consultation

The issue of technical competence was raised in a consultation paper on waste crime, published last year. In it Defra said: “The requirement to provide technical competence is reported to suffer from poor levels of compliance in some parts of the waste industry. It is not clear how many sites provide technically competent management and, of those that do, the extent to which the nominated technically competent manager(s) is/are controlling site operations.

“There is a view that, unless a permit specifically requires technically competent management, the provision is difficult to enforce and enforcement action is open to challenge. The regulators have focused their efforts on sites where failure to provide technically competent management is linked to poor compliance.

“Ministers are strongly minded to take forward measures in respect of operator competence and in particular financial provision.”

Landowners

Today’s meeting at Defra is titled: “Tackling persistent poor performance and waste crime”. The meeting will also see discussions over tighter regimes for financial provision and competence and how to make landowners more aware of the potential for their land to be used in waste crime.

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