Defra releases Red Tape Challenge Implementation Plan

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has released its ‘Red Tape Challenge Environment Theme Implementation Plan’, outlining expected changes and consultation dates for environmental and waste regulations.

The plan, part of the government-run ‘Red Tape Challenge’ that aims to free up business and society from ‘the burden of excessive regulation’, outlines the 255 ‘Environment Themed’ regulations that will be improved, maintained or removed to streamline the bureaucracy involved. Of the regulations, 132 will be improved, through ‘simplification or consolidation’; 70 will be kept as they are, to ‘uphold important environmental protections’; and 53 ‘obsolete’ regulations will be removed. 

The Environment Theme opened for comment on the Cabinet Office website in April 2011, with a ‘spotlight’ period in September 2011. 

According to Defra, the implementation plan aims to deliver ‘early and meaningful improvements for business, within the context of reducing resources’ and establish ‘a clear set of deadlines for implementation with intermediate milestones, [which] will form the basis for future monitoring of the delivery of this suite of proposals’.

For the waste industry, a consultation on removing the Site Waste Management Plans Regulations 2008 will be held in December 2012 after feedback from businesses found that the ‘general requirements’ of the regulations would be met ‘regardless of their existence’ and that ‘getting rid of them would save businesses the associated administrative burden’.

In January 2013, two consultations will be held: one for reviewing the administrative burden of the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 (and associated amendments) and another for reviewing the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009. The latter will see Defra look to exempt more small businesses from the battery producer responsibility regulations ‘without reducing battery recycling rates’ and ‘reduce burdens’ on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by ‘removing the requirement for some distributors’ to take back waste batteries.

Further to these, in March 2013, a consultation will take place to ‘free businesses from having to fill in Waste Transfer Notes’, by allowing them to use invoices or ‘other forms’ of evidence instead, and in April 2014, a consultation into introducing regulatory changes to address industry concerns regarding the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations (and amendments) will be held to ‘help the schemes fully align collections with their members’ obligations’.

Other changes outlined in the Red Tape plan include:

  • Seeking from the European Commission an exemption for ‘micro businesses’ from the EU waste carriers, brokers and dealers’ registration requirements for businesses transporting their own waste;
  • Helping LAs improve access for SMEs to civic amenity sites and kerbside collections;
  • Removing the Landfill Allowances Trading Scheme (LATS) by January 2013 to ‘remove unnecessary burdens on local authorities’’ as Landfill Tax rather than LATs is now the ‘key driver’ for local authorities diverting waste from landfill;
  • Removing the Joint Waste Authorities (Proposals) Regulations 2009 by October 2014 as ‘local authorities have never used the provisions and have instead created other more informal partnerships’ (consultation date not yet assigned);
  • Removing the Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategies by the end of 2014 as the criteria for exemption are no longer valid (consultation date not yet assigned);
  • Removing the Collection and Disposal of Waste Regulations 1988 and the Waste Management (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 1997, as they are ‘obsolete’.

Read the ‘Red Tape Challenge Environment Theme implementation Plan’.