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Scotland's Zero Waste Plan: Consultation

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Annex - P - Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment

1. Title of proposal

Scotland's Zero Waste Plan.

2. Purpose and intended effect

2.1 Objectives

The intention is to outline the Scottish Government's policies on waste management to 2025, and how these can be delivered. As outlined in paragraph 4 below, this includes achieving a number of European Union and Scottish targets on waste prevention, recycling and reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

2.2 Background

Scotland is obliged to take action on reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill and to increase recycling by European Union Directives, notably the EU Landfill Directive http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/landfill_index.htm and the EU revised Waste Framework Directive ( WFD) http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=OJ:L:2008:312:0003:0030:EN:PDF

In addition, Scotland has set a number of domestic targets, in line with EU requirements, to continue the move away from landfill and maximise the environmental benefits for Scotland.

The existing National Waste Plan is at: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/47133/0009763.pdf This will be replaced by this new Plan.

Under the Waste Management Plan for Scotland Regulations 2007 http://www.opsi.gov.uk/legislation/scotland/ssi2007/ssi_20070251_en_1, responsibility for preparing the new Plan rests with the Scottish Ministers.

This partial RIA outlines potential costs to business.

2.3 Rationale for Government intervention

Existing Government levers are already having an impact. These levers include the UK Government's landfill tax; legislation on producer responsibility; advice to business on resource efficiency and funding to local authorities to improve recycling services for householders. Land-use planning and waste regulation also have major impacts on moves towards Zero Waste.

Member States are required to have a Plan by Article 28 of the Waste Framework Directive. The purpose of the Plan, and the consultation on this draft is:

  • To outline all the relevant targets and the Government's view on how these can be achieved.
  • To outline the potential benefits for Scotland in areas such as Greenhouse Gas Emissions and job opportunities.
  • To seek views on how waste data can be improved, particularly in relation to commercial and industrial waste.
  • To seek views on the role of waste delivery bodies, and how delivery body work should best be delivered.
  • To outline how land-use planning can help deliver zero waste.
  • To outline how waste regulation can help deliver zero waste.
  • To seek views on whether Government should introduce a target to reduce the amount of municipal waste produced (rather than just a target to stop waste growing).
  • To seek views on whether Government should introduce a target on the re-use of municipal waste.
  • To outline potential further work to encourage the recycling of commercial waste.
  • To seek views on whether targets should be set on reducing the amount of commercial and industrial waste sent to landfill.
  • To seek views on whether more should be done on producer responsibility.
  • To seek views on what support local authorities may require in relation to the procurement or construction of infrastructure to treat residual waste.
  • To seek initial views on whether more materials could be banned from landfill.
  • To seek views on the potential devolution of landfill tax.

3. Consultation

3.1 Within Government

Analytical services and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency ( SEPA).

3.2 Public consultation

As part of the 12 week consultation on the draft Plan.

4. Options

4.1 Option A: Business as usual

A simple "do nothing" option does not exist: Scotland must meet EU targets and obligations. Therefore, this Option assumes that existing work by Government continues in place but is not supplemented by further work.

Key existing areas of work include:

The UK Government's landfill tax. There are two rates of landfill tax. A standard rate, currently at £40 per tonne (£48 per tonne from 1 April 2010) for biodegradable waste, and a lower rate, currently at £2.50 per tonne, for inactive wastes. The UK Government announced in Budget 2009 that the standard rate for landfill tax for active waste would continue to increase by £8 per tonne per annum up to 2013. At 1 April 2013, the standard rate of tax will be £72 a tonne. The UK Government also announced that the lower rate for inactive waste will be frozen at £2.50 per tonne in 2010-11.

More information on the landfill tax can be found on Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs website at: http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageExcise_InfoGuides&columns=1&id=EXCISE_INFOS_LANDFILL

Producer responsibility legislation. Producer responsibility means that the producer of the waste (regarded as those putting it on the market in the first place) is obliged to collect (or arrange for the collection of) a proportion of the waste for recycling and recovery. Up until now, producer responsibility has been driven by EU requirements and has been implemented on a Great Britain basis. Areas currently subject to producer responsibility are: packaging; end of life vehicles ( ELVs); batteries and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment ( WEEE).

More information on producer responsibility can be found on the Scottish Environment Protection Agency's website at: http://www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_regulation/producer_responsibility.aspx

Advice to business on resource efficiency. The Scottish Government supports work by Envirowise, who provide advice to business on sustainable design, resource efficiency and waste prevention.

More information on Envirowise can be found at: http://www.envirowise.gov.uk/scotland/Envirowise-in-Scotland.html

4.2 Option B: Take more radical steps to achieve Zero Waste

The draft Zero Waste Plan contains questions on a number of possible measures and targets to move towards Zero Waste. Many of the proposals are tentative at this stage and in many cases there would need to be further consultation, with appropriate Impact Assessments. The table below outlines the further measures suggested in the consultation; whether further consultation would take place before implementation and whether there is an impact on or cost to business.

Table 1: Business impacts of Zero Waste Plan measures

Proposed measure

Further consultation?

Is there an impact on/cost to business?

Question on whether further steps should be taken to promote the waste hierarchy. (Question 1).

Depends on whether any further action is taken and what the nature of any further action is. Government has no specific action in mind at the moment

Depends on whether any further action is taken and what the nature of any further action is.

Question on how to measure progress. (Question 2)

No.

No direct impact.

Regulations to make it mandatory for businesses receiving SEPA's waste data request to complete it. (Question 3)

Yes. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act lays down that regulations must be laid before Parliament within 12 months of this section coming into force.

Yes. Covered in section 5 (on costs) below.

Question on future role of Area Waste Groups/Plans. (Question 4).

No.

Minimal and not covered in section 5 below. Business might be asked to attend and participate in Area Waste Group meetings. These would not be compulsory.

Question on nature of delivery bodies and role. (Question 5)

No.

Yes, but only insofar as business receive (free) services from waste delivery bodies and may wish to comment on what should be provided. Therefore, not covered in section 5 below.

Question on ensuring development plans are up to date in relation to waste infrastructure. (Question 6)

No.

Minimal and not covered in section 5 below. Business waste producers might benefit from development plans reflecting the need for waste infrastructure.

Target on reducing municipal waste. (Question 7)

No.

Minimal and not covered in section 5 below. Most municipal waste is household waste

Target on re-using municipal waste. (Question 8)

No.

Minimal and not covered in section 5 below. Most municipal waste is household waste

Target on preventing commercial and industrial waste and construction and demolition waste. (Question 9)

No

Yes. However, waste prevention can generally be expected to produce cost savings. Therefore, this has not been included in section 5 below.

Question on waste prevention actions. (Question 10)

No.

Possibly, depending on waste prevention actions added or dropped. Waste prevention can generally be expected to produce cost savings. Not included in section 5 below.

Question on improving municipal recycling rates. (Question 11).

In most cases, no. But any changes to local authority waste charging powers would require further consultation, as legislation is involved.

In most cases, no. But any changes to local authority waste charging powers could impact on business, in line with polluter pays principle. However, any costs to business would be considered in any consultation on proposed legislation in this area and so not included in section 5 below.

Question on encouraging recycling in public places. (Question 12)

No.

No. This is aimed at improving recycling for individuals rather than for business.

Question on reminding companies of their responsibilities under Duty of Care? (Question 13)

No.

Yes. However, this would be reminding companies of existing responsibilities, rather than adding new burdens. Therefore, this is not included in section 5 below.

Question on whether materials/sectors mentioned are areas for which tailored programmes of work should be established to encourage waste prevention, re-use and recycling. (Question 14).

No, unless any legislation is proposed in which case yes.

Yes. However, in a number of cases, work would involve the public sector (eg in relation to better waste data and regulation). In other cases, voluntary agreements might be set up. Any legislation would be the subject of consultation, with appropriate impact assessments. Therefore, this is not included in section 5 below.

Target on reducing the amount of commercial and waste sent to landfill. (Question 15).

No.

Yes. However, we expect targets in these areas would reflect existing work and so nothing specific is included in section 5 above.

Question on changing producer responsibility system and on introducing extended producer responsibility. (Question 16).

Yes.

Yes. There are potentially major implications for business here. Changes in this would require legislation which would be subject to consultation and appropriate impact assessments. Current costs are included in section 5 below.

Question on whether the cap on energy from waste should extend to other technologies treating mixed waste? (Question 17).

No.

Some. Companies marketing such technologies will be affected by the decision. Not included in section 5 below.

Question on whether the cap on energy from waste should extend to single-stream municipal wastes going to energy from waste plants? (Question 18).

No.

Minimal. Most municipal waste is household waste. Not included in section 5 below.

Question on support for local authorities when procuring infrastructure to treat residual waste. (Question 19)

No.

Minimal. Most waste collected by local authorities is household waste. Not included in section 5 below.

Question on landfill bans. (Question 20)

Yes.

Yes. There are potentially major implications for business. Any proposed bans would require legislation which would be subject to full consultation and appropriate impact assessments. The Scottish Government, through the Waste and Resources Action Programme, has commissioned a research project on the practicalities, costs and benefits of landfill bans. Therefore, potential costs are not included in section 5 below.

Question on devolving landfill tax. (Question 21)

Depends.

Any changes to the landfill tax regime as it currently operates in Scotland would be subject to full consultation and appropriate impact assessments. Current costs are included in section 5 below.

Question asking for any further comments (Question 22).

Depends

Depends on any points raised by consultees.

5. Costs and benefits

5.1 Sectors and groups affected

  • Householders (who will be asked to participate further in waste prevention, re-use and recycling).
  • Business waste producers (who have to meet waste collection and disposal charges, with disposal charges increasing as a result of the landfill tax escalator; who may be required to submit waste data returns to SEPA; who may need to meet further producer responsibility obligations and who can achieve further cost savings through resource efficiency and waste prevention).
  • SEPA (who will need to collate and analyse and publish waste data returns, in addition to carrying out their current roles in relation to waste data and regulation).
  • Local authorities (who will need to extend recycling collections; procure or build residual waste infrastructure and ensure that the need for waste management infrastructure is properly reflected in development plans).
  • The private waste management and recycling industries (who will need to extend recycling collections and increase the number of waste recovery and disposal plants, as part of the move away from landfill).
  • The community recycling sector (who will need to extend recycling collections and engage further in waste prevention and re-use).

5.2 Benefits

Potential benefits from Scotland's Zero Waste Plan include:

  • Compliance with EU targets (thus avoiding infraction cases) in relation to reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.
  • Greenhouse gas savings of around 1.5 million tonnes of CO 2 equivalent in relation to municipal waste alone (see the Life Cycle Analysis at Annex I for further details).
  • Less depletion of natural resources, due to increased waste prevention, re-use, recycling and composting.
  • Reduced leachate pollution as a result of reduced landfill.
  • Increased environmental awareness generally, amongst business and householders.
  • Accurate data for commercial and industrial waste.
  • Savings to business from increased resource efficiency and waste prevention. The latest figures from Envirowise suggest that business saved more than £29 million in 2007 http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2009/03/23094328
  • Savings to householders from waste prevention. Figures from Waste Aware Scotland and the Waste and Resources Action Programme suggest Scottish householders are wasting an average of £410 of food a year or £889 million a year in Scotland http://www.wasteawarescotland.org.uk/html/foodWaste.asp
  • Around 1,990 jobs could be created in waste management and recycling over the next 6 years (see Annex O for further information).
  • Continued work by the community recycling sector in relation to employing, training and providing volunteering opportunities for disadvantaged people.

The Strategic Environmental Assessment, on which the Government is consulting in parallel, outlines the impact on the environment on the draft Plan.

5.3 Costs to local authorities

The Scottish Government has commissioned a separate project on the costs to local authorities of recycling collections and infrastructure. We expect this to be published in the late Autumn

5.4 Existing costs to business of Option A (business as usual)

Table 2 Existing cost to business of Option A

Measure

Cost to business

How calculated?

Landfill Tax

Around £73 million a year

https://www.uktradeinfo.com/index.cfm?task=bulllandfill

Separate landfill tax figures for Scotland are not collected. However, the table above shows that in 2008 total UK receipts were around £923 million, and receipts are increasing. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume the landfill tax is now raising £1 billion a year across the UK, with around 10% of that (or around £100 million) coming from Scotland. (Although Scotland does not represent 10% of the UK, our overall amount of landfilling is proportionately higher, given the low level of energy from waste in Scotland). However, of the 7.4 million tonnes of waste landfilled in 2007, 2 million (or 27%) came from householders which means that £73 million of the tax came from business.

Producer responsibility on packaging.

Around £7.3 million a year.

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/topics/packaging/pdf/full-packaging-strategy.pdf

The UK Packaging Strategy estimates that packaging producer responsibility has cost around £900 million in total - around £90 million a year. 8.1% of that is around £7.3 million.

Producer responsibility on end of life vehicles

Between around £5.4 and £6.6 million a year.

http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file30647.pdf

The Regulatory Impact Assessment carried out for then Department of Trade and Industry ( DTI) is attached above. This suggests annual costs of between £67 million and £82 million. 8.1% of these is £5.4 million and £6.6 million

Producer responsibility on batteries

Between around £0.8 million to £1.4 million a year.

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/em/uksiem_20090890_en.pdf

Paragraph 10.1 of the Explanatory Memorandum prepared by the UK Government for the implementing regulations suggests the impact on business, charities or voluntary bodies is estimated to be in the region of £10 million to £17 million. 8.1% of these is £0.8 million to £1.4 million.

Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment ( WEEE).

Between around £13 million to £28.4 million.

http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file32450.pdf

Table 14 of this partial Regulatory Impact Assessment indicates that the annualised cost is between £161 million to £227 million. 8.1% of these is £13 million to £18.4 million.

Total costs.

Between around £99.5 million to £116.7 million

5.5 Potential costs to business of Option B

As indicated in the Table under section 4, a number of the proposed new measures suggested in the draft Plan would have little or no impact on business. However, some of the proposed measures could have a significant impact on business and these are considered in more detail below:

Mandatory waste data returns to SEPA (question 3 in the draft Plan).

This was considered in the partial Regulatory Impact Assessment prepared in relation for the waste provisions that were included in the Climate Change (Scotland) Act: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/07/24155248/13

In relation to proposal 6 (businesses being required to send returns to SEPA on the waste they produce), we estimated the total cost to business as £5,308,700.

This assumed a return was sent to all businesses in Scotland and that it cost each business £20 to prepare and submit the return.

There will be benefits to business from completing any surveys, or sending in data returns to SEPA, as these could help businesses better manage the waste they produce, which could lead to reduced costs.

There will be a full consultation on regulations in this area, which will include further details on potential costs to business.

Changes to the producer responsibility system/extended producer responsibility

The Scottish Government has no firm proposals in this area at the moment. There would be full consultation on any proposals to change the system or introduce extended producer responsibility.

The argument for changing the existing producer responsibility system in relation to packaging is that the current system has been effective in relation to encouraging the recycling and recovery of commercial packaging waste but it has had little or no impact on household packaging waste. The existing system is generally regarded as cost effective, particularly when comparing the system in Great Britain with the systems in other Member States.

For example, page 57 of the UK Packaging Strategy http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/topics/packaging/pdf/full-packaging-strategy.pdf notes that the system in the UK has since 1999 cost an estimated £900 million in total, ranging from £42 million to £141 million per year according to market conditions. Between 2000 and 2007, it has cost French packaging producers over â'¬2.6 billion on the household side alone to achieve similar levels of recycling.

The Scottish Government would consult on any changes to the current producer responsibility regime and take full account of any costs to business. Similarly, the Scottish Government would consult on any moves to extended producer responsibility, as envisaged by Article 8 of the revised Waste Framework Directive, and take full account of any costs to business.

More information on packaging is in Annex N.

Landfill bans

Separate research has been commissioned in this area - more details are in Annex L. The Scottish Government would consult on any proposed new landfill bans and take full account of any costs to business.

Landfill tax

Any changes to the landfill tax regime as it currently operates in Scotland would be subject to full consultation and appropriate impact assessments.

6 Small/Micro Firms Impact Test

6.1 Option A: business as usual

The Scottish Government, through WRAP Scotland, is commissioning further research on current waste management options taken by SMEs. The Scottish Government is aware that SMEs may produce small quantities of mixed waste and so may find it harder to obtain value from their waste, when compared with larger companies who may produce larger amounts of single-stream material which may then have a greater value.

Evidence submitted by the FSB in relation to the Climate Change (Scotland) Act indicated that in 2004 43% of their members recycled some waste whilst by 2008 this figure had increased to 84%. http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/s3/committees/rae/bills/Climatechange/documents/FSB.pdf

Landfill tax is paid by the landfill operators but will impact on the costs paid by all waste producers, including SMEs. Waste Aware Scotland already has information on recycling facilities for SMEs: http://www.wasteawarebusiness.org.uk/

The producer responsibility regime for packaging only extends to companies with a turnover exceeding £2 million and handling more than 50 tonnes of packaging http://www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_regulation/producer_responsibility/packaging.aspx

6.2. Option B: Take further steps

The forthcoming consultation on regulations requiring business receiving data requests from SEPA to complete them will take full account of any costs to SMEs.

Similarly, any other legislative changes will be consulted on and will take full account of any costs to SMEs.

7. Legal Aid Impact Test

The proposals have no impact on legal aid.

8. "Test Run" of business forms

No new forms are proposed at this stage.

SEPA will carry out further "test runs" of its waste data surveys.

9. Competition assessment

There is no direct impact on competition.

The Scottish Government is aware that for large waste infrastructure projects let by local authorities, there may only be a limited number of waste management companies capable of submitting a bid. However, there are a sufficient number of companies to make it likely that competition will take place.

10. Enforcement, sanctions and monitoring

There are no direct sanctions arising from this Plan.

Any failure to comply with EU requirements could lead to infraction proceedings from the European Commission.

Outcomes will be monitored using waste data published by SEPA.

As outlined in the draft Plan, the Scottish Government will produce an Annual Report, showing progress towards Zero Waste.

Scottish Government
August 2009