HL Deb 23 July 1996 vol 574 cc106-7WA
Lord Mountevans

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What progress has been made with the implementation of the Special Waste Regulations 1996.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers)

The Special Waste Regulations were made on 28th March 1996 and will come into effect on 1st September 1996. The regulations, which implement the EC Hazardous Waste Directive (91/689/EEC), update provisions for supervising movements of the most difficult and dangerous waste and controlling its management and disposal. In particular, the regulations provide for movements of such waste to be pre-notified to the environment agencies and to be tracked by a system of consignment notes. Guidance in the form of a circular to the environment agencies and local authorities was published on 13th June.

Since the regulations were made, some technical problems have come to light and we plan to make amending regulations in order to correct these before the regulations enter into force. We hope to make amending regulations by the end of the month and to lay them before Parliament shortly thereafter.

These are complex regulations and I believe that these changes will be welcomed by industry and regulators alike for the clarification and improvements which they will bring to the functioning of the new system.

In addition to these technical changes, we have looked again at the exclusion which applies to household waste. The definition of household waste does not include waste oils, clinical waste or asbestos. We intend to make an amendment which will ensure that waste oils, and clinical waste from households are not subject to the regulations. These changes will ensure that the regulations do not interfere with arrangements for separate collections of clinical waste from domestic properties nor add to their cost.

The definition of household waste includes waste from premises forming part of educational establishments, and hospitals. We plan to make an amendment to clarify that the exemption will not apply to waste from laboratories or to non-domestic hospital waste. However, this amendment will not imply that all waste from such sources will be Special Waste.

The technical changes will include an amendment to the schedule which has to be completed for movements of Special Waste collected during a daily round of consignments (referred to as a carrier's round). An amendment will clarify that a single consignment note and schedule can be used for more than one type of waste for which a single fee will be charged for each such round.

The changes will also clarify and update cross references to the Chemicals (Hazard Information and Packaging) Regulations (SI 1994/3247) which are intended to assist industry in determining whether waste is Special. They will introduce a simplified procedure for waste which is consigned by pipeline. Other amendments will set a time limit of two months for the payment of fees to the environment agencies, and will set the penalty for failure to pay at a level three fine.