HC Deb 28 February 2001 vol 363 c672W
Mr. Bennett

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions when he will publish the consultation document on changes to the exemptions from waste management licensing. [150452]

Mr. Meacher

The recovery and disposal of waste are subject to control under the Framework Directive on waste; and the main method of control is a waste management licence under Part II of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. However, Article 11 of the Directive provides discretion for the provision of licensing exemptions, on the basis of "general rules" and subject to certain conditions. The main purpose of exemptions is to encourage waste recovery in ways which protect the environment and human health.

We are currently reviewing several of the exemptions provided in regulation 17 of Schedule 3 to the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994. The review includes two exemptions subject to allegations of abuse (Schedule 3 paragraphs 9 and 19). We propose to tighten the terms of these, exemptions to preclude their use for "sham recovery", to set minimum inspection frequencies by the Environment Agency, and to introduce charges for their registration and inspection.

We are also reviewing the exemptions for the landspreading of waste for agricultural benefit or ecological improvement (paragraph 7); the storage and landspreading of sewage sludge for ecological improvement (paragraph 8); recovery operations at sewage treatment works (paragraph 10); and community composting (paragraph 12). We are considering the provision of new exemptions for the recovery and storage of waste oil, the burning of dunnage at ports and the remediation of contaminated land.

We intend to publish a consultation paper on these proposals this spring. We also intend to consult later this year on the application of waste management controls to agricultural waste—including licensing exemptions. A separate consultation exercise on licensing exemptions for "special waste" is planned for the summer.