UK: Waste and Renewable Resources, March 2009

Last Updated: 9 February 2011
Article by Michael Krantz

Originally published in March 2009

Our specialist waste sector team, including lawyers and planning consultants, provides a complete range of services for the waste industry.

In this edition, we will look at some of the issues which might affect your business including the importance of packaging regulations, the creation of energy from landfill gas and the latest developments at WRAP.

Our specialist team hosted a seminar on 26th February to discuss the future of the waste industry with Peter Jones, London Waste and Recycling Board.

I hope you find this eBulletin useful and interesting.

Please let me know if you have any suggestions about any other information that you would like to see in the eBulletin or any other way in which we can improve it.

Further Change In The Packaging Regulations - 7 April 2010 - Environment Agency Prosecute Redbull

By Nicholas Walker

Further change in the Packaging Regulations is imminent. The Environment Agency is actively and successfully prosecuting business as a criminal offence for failing to comply; Red Bull was hit with a £270,000 fine in July last year for example. Don't be their next bullseye!

Do you have a UK turnover of more than £2m and handle more than 50 tonnes of packaging a year? If so your business may have numerous obligations:

  • The Registration Obligation;
  • The Recovery and Recycling Obligations;
  • The Certifying Obligation;
  • The Consumer Information Obligations.

If your company will exceed the the thresholds this year then it must ensure that it has registered as a producer of packaging waste by 7 April 2010.

Retrospective compliance is not possible, so if your business has exceeded the thresholds in previous years, and you have not complied, you could be prosecuted for a number of offences under the Regulations and liable to conviction and a fine.

The best course of action is to meet your obligations. However, if you have not done this and you fear action then we have also successfully defended clients from the full force of prosecution.

Energy From Waste - Landfill Gas

By Michael Krantz

A number of recent announcements demonstrate that the amount of energy being generated from landfill gas continues to increase.

The Todfills landfill site in Bishops Auckland stopped receiving waste in 2007 and will now be used to generate power. Two containerised landfill gas-powered engine generator sets will be installed at the edge of the site, each generating around 1,000kW of electricity - enough to power up to 4,000 homes. The project is a collaboration between Premier Waste Management, CLP Envirogas and Northern Electric.

Two existing landfill gas facilities, run by Viridor, will soon increase their production of energy by installing additional power generating equipment. The current capacity at Heathfield, near Kingsteignton, is 5.86 MW. This will be increased to 8.50 MW. At Braodpath, near Uffculme, an extra 1.75 MW of electricity will be generated by a new engine, taking the total capacity of the site to 4.75 MW.

Biffa also announced recently that it is changing its focus from traditional waste collection to energy from waste. Alongside other technologies, such as Anaerobic Digestion, Biffa plan to generate power from landfill gas. The company has 30 landfill sites and 74 million cubic metres of consented void. It already has the capacity to generate 115 megawatts of electricity from landfill gas and has no plans to sell any of its landfill sites.

Landfill gas is formed through the decomposition of waste in landfill sites. The waste goes through several phases of decomposition before carbon dioxide and, predominantly, methane are produced. The volatility of these gases, and the risk of explosion, means that the resultant gas has to be extracted and flared in any event. In a landfill gas project this gas is used instead to power a generator.

Production of power through landfill will be less profitable now that the Renewable Obligation Order 2009 has come into effect, as the amount of Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) that can be claimed for each mega-watt of power generated has been reduced. However, since the gas has to be extracted as a necessary part of the operation or aftercare of a landfill site, creating energy from it is still a beneficial use of an already existing resource.

WRAP To Become 'One Stop Shop'

By Nicholas Walker

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn announced last week that all of the Government's programmes for waste and resource efficiency are to be amalgamated into the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP).

The move follows the recommendations of a Review carried out by Defra. It is hoped that the provision of a single point of contact will lead to improved clarity for businesses and households and save costs.

The organisations which will come under WRAP are:

  • The National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NSIP)
  • Business Resource Efficiency and Waste (BREW)
  • The Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse
  • Action Sustainability
  • Construction Resources and Waste Platform
  • Envirowise

It remains to be seen whether this amalgamation will help to clarify the increasingly fraught issue of when waste ceases to be waste. This remains an area ripe for litigation and on which WRAP protocol preparation is behind the curve. However, as we reported in an earlier e-Bulletin there has been some progress on this issue at the European level and this is continuing. DMH Stallard LLP continue to provide advice for their clients in this specialist area

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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