Zero waste regulations: policy statement

Our policy statement on zero waste regulations.

7. Implementing the Regulations

7.1 Implementation programme

It is our intention to establish a joint implementation programme with Zero Waste Scotland and SEPA to support roll out of the Regulations. This will include establishment of sector specific support programmes, which may include realignment of existing programmes of support.

Some of this work is already underway, for instance the food waste programme is helping local authorities roll out food waste collection services, as well as supporting investment by business in food waste processing facilities. Similarly, a best practice project on collection systems is underway as is work to establish industry standards for inputs and outputs of material recycling facilities.

Communication will be vital to the successful implementation of the proposals and early campaign work to raise awareness of the new measures will be important. Successful implementation should significantly reduce the need for stringent enforcement measures being taken at a later stage. The delivery of effective communications and awareness raising and engagement of the waste management sector in delivering the messages directly to their customers will be key.

SEPA, Zero Waste Scotland and the waste management industry will have an important role in providing communications and advice to business ahead of and during implementation of the Regulations. It is envisaged that this work will take a number of forms for example,

  • high level campaign work - trade press etc;
  • preparation of materials for waste management companies to use when engaging with customers;
  • one to one advice to business.

SEPA will engage with its regulated industries and others to advise on the new requirement. Zero Waste Scotland has a SME support and advice programme with the intention of reaching 3000 businesses per year.

7.2 Enforcement

The power to enforce Section 34 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 is shared by both SEPA and the Local Authorities. It is vital that any draft legislation and Duty of Care Code of Practice maintains this position in order to maximise efficiencies in implementation and enforcement.

With regard to food waste collection, Local Authorities already visit many businesses to carry out trade waste inspections. For example, in North Lanarkshire the duty on businesses to produce waste contracts is used regularly by Environmental Protection Officers and Environmental Health Officers. In the financial year 2009/10 over 1000 duty of care inspections were made as part of their investigations into fly tipping complaints or proactive visits to businesses checking that appropriate arrangements are in place for waste removal.

SEPA's work tends to focus more on waste management facilities including illegal sites. SEPA regulates over 60 active landfills and the list of incinerator facilities making it well positioned to enforce the landfill and incinerator bans.

Although Zero Waste Scotland does not have a statutory function with respect to enforcing the regulations, their role is crucial. Effective communications and campaign actions should lead the rest of the work.

Detailed discussion with Local Authorities and SEPA on their specific roles will be taking place in the coming months to clarify roles and ensure that proportionate system of regulation and enforcement is established.

7.3 Guidance

A series of guidance papers will be issued to coincide with the Regulations coming into force as will a new Duty of Care Code of Practice. Drafts of these papers formed part of the consultation on the draft Regulations.

In summary, SEPA will issue guidance for landfill operators on the ban of separately collected materials going to landfill. They will also issue revised thermal treatment guidelines setting out how the restrictions on inputs to incinerators will be implemented.

Further guidance will also be issued by SEPA at a later date on the ban on biodegradable waste going to landfill. This will include guidance on the measurement of biodegradability.

As outlined earlier, the Scottish Government also intends to issue guidance on applying the waste hierarchy. Based on discussion with local authorities and the waste industry, the Scottish Government may issue further guidance on implementing certain aspects of the regulations.

7.4 Landfill Allowance Scheme

When enacted the Zero Waste (Scotland) Regulations will revoke most of the requirements set out in the Landfill Allowance Scheme (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (the LAS Regulations). Whilst the Landfill Allowance Scheme has been successful in reducing the volumes of local authority controlled waste going to landfill, it is an approach that could only take us so far, particularly with the focus now being on maximising both the quantity and quality of recycling. The LAS Regulations were introduced in Scotland to deliver the landfill targets set out at article 5 of the Landfill Directive. However, under this Directive it would still have been permissible to landfill 1.26 million tonnes of municipal biodegradable waste in 2020. The Zero Waste Regulations go much further than this and aim to reduce to zero the amount of biodegradable municipal waste that can be landfilled beyond 2020. There is then good reason to revoke the majority of the requirements under the LAS Regulations.

It is our intention however that the requirement on local authorities to report waste data through Waste Data Flow be retained. Local Authorities will have a statutory duty to report quarterly no later than 42 days after the end of each quarter. It is also proposed that SEPA move towards publishing annual reporting, instead of quarterly, and that future reporting be based on a calendar year. Recycling figures can vary significantly from quarter to quarter in response to things like season trends. Publishing annual recycling figures will ensure that only true trend in recycling rates that reflect the effort the householders and business to recycle are presented.


Email: Central Enquiries Unit

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