Waste law update Nov-Dec 2013
Sam Sandilands and Stephen Lavington from Burges Salmon LLP talk us through the latest changes in waste’s legal and regulatory regime
HMRC consultation on new guidance for the lower landfill tax rate
On 4 October 2013, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) published a consultation on draft guidance that seeks to clarify the position regarding which types of waste qualify for the lower rate of landfill tax (£2.50 per tonne). The first part of the guidance expands upon the meaning of the term ‘naturally occurring’ to assist in the interpretation of the qualifying materials table in the Schedule to the Landfill Tax (Qualifying Material) Order 2011. The guidance emphasises, for example, that although mechanical processing such as crushing or sorting will not in itself affect whether or not a material is ‘naturally occurring’, chemical or thermal processing will.
In addition, the draft guidance sets out advice on what evidence will be required to demonstrate that a material is eligible for the lower rate and, in particular, gives examples of what will or will not constitute a description of materials on waste transfer documentation sufficient to ensure that the lower rate is payable. The draft guidance also extends advice already contained in HMRC’s Notice LFT1, ‘A general guide to landfill tax’, specifically in relation to mixed loads and concerning the filling of quarries exemption.
The consultation closed on 20 October 2013, and HMRC hopes to have finalised and implemented revised guidance before the end of 2013.
New regulations under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013
New regulations have come into force that expand on the provisions of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013, which came into effect in February 2013. The Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 (Prescribed Relevant Offences and Relevant Enforcement Action) Regulations 2013 and the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 (Prescribed Documents and Information for Verification of Name and Address) Regulations 2013 both came into force in October 2013. The regulations are intended to elaborate on the new regulatory regime for scrap metal dealing introduced by the act. In particular, the regulations list the relevant offences and relevant enforcement action that should be taken into account under section 3(3) of the act when a local authority is determining whether an applicant for a scrap metal licence is a ‘suitable person’.
Under section 11(1) of the act, scrap dealers are prevented from receiving scrap metal from a person without having verified that person’s full name and address. The regulations serve to clarify the requirements of this provision by setting out what documents and information will be sufficient for the purposes of this verification. Acceptable verification documents prescribed by the regulations include UK and EEA passports and photo-card driving licences.
Site Waste Management Plans to be revoked
On 30 August 2013, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) published its response to the consultation it held between 18 June and 16 July 2013 on proposals to repeal the Construction Site Waste Management Plans Regulations 2008 (SWMP Regulations). The proposed repeal comes as part of the government’s broader ‘Red Tape Challenge’, which aims to free up business by removing legislation that the government considers to be unnecessary.
Defra’s response to the consultation acknowledged that the opinion of those questioned on the proposal to repeal the requirement for compulsory SWMPs was mixed, with equal numbers of respondents in favour of and opposed to the proposal. Seventy-three per cent of those responding to the consultation expect that they will continue to use SWMPs, or a tool similar to them, even if SWMPs are no longer compulsory.
Despite the mixed responses, Defra intends to continue with its proposal and has set 1 December 2013 as the date on which the repeal of the SWMP Regulations will come into effect.