HC Deb 09 February 1995 vol 254 cc344-5W
Mr. Pickles

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what plans he has to provide exemptions from waste management licensing for the recovery of scrap metal and the dismantling of waste motor vehicles; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Atkins

On 8 November 1994, I published a consultation paper setting out our proposals for exemptions from waste management licensing under part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 for the recovery of scrap metal and the dismantling of waste motor vehicles. We have considered the responses to that consultation exercise and have now laid before Parliament the Waste Management Licensing (Amendment etc.) Regulations 1995, S.I 1995 No. 288.

The Government's policy is that the controls applied to waste should be proportionate to the risks involved and the benefits to be obtained and should not impose unjustifiable or disproportionate burdens on those subject to control, especially small businesses. The scrap metal and waste motor vehicle dismantling industry plays an important role in the recovery of waste.

The aim of the exemptions from licensing provided in the regulations is to encourage the recovery of scrap metal where the industry's activities do not pose a threat to the environment or human health. To ensure that this aim is fulfilled, the exemptions we have provided specify the types and quantities of waste and the conditions under which the industry's activities will be exempt. Any scrap metal or waste motor vehicle dismantling yards which do not meet these conditions will be subject to waste management licensing.

Our consultation paper invited comments on whether the fragmentisation of scrap metal and waste motor vehicles should be the subject of an exemption. We have considered the comments made on this issue. Our conclusion is that it would not be appropriate to provide an exemption for fragmentisation and that this activity should remain subject to licensing.

The main purpose of the regulations is to provide exemptions for scrap metal recovery, but they make certain other provisions. These provisions include an extension of the transitional arrangements which exempt certain people from the requirement to demonstrate technical competence when applying for a waste management licence. The new exemptions will apply to people who have managed waste facilities authorised under part I of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and managers of facilities which did not need a licence under the Control of Pollution Act 1974. The regulations also extend the list of equipment prescribed as mobile plant for the treatment or disposal of waste.

We will publish as soon as possible a circular providing guidance on the regulations and waste management paper No. 4A, which will provide guidance on those scrap metal recovery activities remaining subject to licensing.