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Regulatory decisions for waste management

Signing waste documentation

If you can't include written signatures on all documents we will accept electronic signatures instead.

This includes trans-frontier shipment documents and waste transfer notes.

More information can be found in the regulatory decision below.

Regulatory decision

This position applies as a temporary emergency contingency measure only. It is subject to review.

This regulatory decision applies to the record keeping requirements for transfers of non-hazardous and consignment of hazardous waste. It has been created due to concerns with spreading Coronavirus.

Waste handlers usually need to provide a signature on the documentation recording transfers and consignments to prove confirmation of the parties involved.

However, if you follow the conditions in this regulatory decision you can complete the transfer or consignment without providing signatures of the parties involved.

Conditions you must comply with

We will not require a waste holder to sign documentation where the following conditions are met. You must:

  • Record all the other information required in the Waste Transfer Note/Consignment Note as usual, including the names of the persons involved in the transaction.
  • Record any instances where the signature was refused.
  • Follow up instances of signature refusal by obtaining written confirmation via letter or e-mail from the customer, including information on each individual transfer or consignment, and date.
  • Hazardous waste returns should be sent to producers to ensure receipt at the correct site.
  • This regulatory decision is time limited for 3 months and will be reviewed after that time.

You must make sure that your activity does not endanger human health or the environment. You must not:

  • cause a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals
  • cause a nuisance through noise or odours
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest

Enforcement

A regulatory decision means that Natural Resources Wales will not normally take enforcement action against you provided:

  • your activity meets the description set out in this regulatory decision
  • you comply with the conditions set out in this regulatory decision
  • your activity does not, and is not likely to, cause environmental pollution or harm human health

Review

This regulatory decision will be valid until valid until 30 September 2020.

Waste storage limits

If you can’t remove waste from your site we may be able to offer some flexibility in how much you can store for the next few months.

More details are available in our regulatory decision below. Or contact your local site officer who will be able to advise how additional waste may be stored without increasing the risk to the environment.

Regulatory decision

This regulatory decision applies to the temporary exceedance of waste storage limits at a permitted waste operation without applying for a permit variation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic only.

It applies as a temporary emergency contingency measure only and is subject to review.

You usually need to meet the conditions laid out in your environmental permit regarding storage of waste materials.

However, if you follow the conditions in this regulatory decision you can temporarily exceed these limits.

Conditions you must comply with

If we agree to you using this regulatory decision, you may temporarily exceed waste storage limits without applying for a permit variation.

You must continue to comply with the other requirements in your permit and the conditions in this regulatory decision.

You can only exceed existing storage limits until 30 June 2020 when this regulatory decision will be reviewed.

This regulatory decision only applies when you need to ask to exceed the storage limits specified in your permit as a result of Coronavirus. You must demonstrate that you have taken all reasonable steps to comply with the storage limits in your permit.

Reasonable steps include:

  • contingency planning to maintain compliance with regulatory requirements and to avoid or minimise disruption to your business because of Coronavirus
  • emergency response planning to minimise how far you exceed waste storage limits and to minimise the impact and duration of not complying with your permit or licence

This regulatory decision only applies to non-compliance with permitted storage limits which have occurred as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic after the date of adoption of this regulatory decision and does not apply to existing non-compliances pre-dating the pandemic.

Before you use this regulatory decision

You must obtain written agreement that you can do so from Natural Resources Wales - please contact your regulatory officer.

This regulatory decision only applies:

  • if we have agreed you can use it
  • where you can demonstrate that you need to store waste above permit limits because of disruption caused by Coronavirus
  • to waste types you are authorised to store under your permit
  • to the temporary storage of waste above the limits specified in your permit - it does not apply to any other regulated facilities or regulatory requirements

You must make sure that your activity does not endanger human health or cause harm to the environment.

You must not:

  • cause a risk to water, air, soil, plants or animals
  • cause a nuisance through noise or odours
  • adversely affect the countryside or places of special interest

You must also:

  • have written permission from the landowner for your proposed increased storage
  • have prior written agreement from Natural Resources Wales to use this regulatory decision – including written agreement for the types and quantities of waste you want to store temporarily and the storage locations
  • store all waste within the permitted site boundary
  • keep all storage areas secure to prevent unauthorised access
  • make sure that the waste you receive on site is managed on a strict rotation basis so that waste received on site first is removed from the site first and that you separate waste of different storage age
  • carry out a written review of the risks and how they will affect existing relevant plans, for example, your management system and Fire Management and Prevention Plan (FPMP) - if you change your fire prevention plan you must make sure that the plan still meets the objectives in our guidance.
  • make a record of any changes to relevant plans and comply with the revised plans, including changes made to your Environmental Management System (EMS) and FPMP – you must make the record of change available to all staff and to Natural Resources Wales on request
  • keep records to show that you have complied with the conditions in this regulatory decision for 12 months – these must be available to Natural Resources Wales on request
  • make sure all waste above the limits in your permit is removed from the site within 3 months of arriving - and in all cases, by 30 June 2020 when this regulatory decision will be reviewed.

You must not:

  • at any one time, store more waste of a type allowed under your permit than the total quantity allowed by your permit - any additional amount must be agreed in writing by Natural Resources Wales
  • store waste for more than 3 months

When you have removed all of the waste above your permit limits, you must operate your permit in compliance with all of the following:

  • your EMS
  • your FPMP
  • any other written system stated in your permit that was in place immediately before you used this regulatory decision

Enforcement

This regulatory decision means that Natural Resources Wales will not normally take enforcement action against you provided:

  • your activity meets the description set out in this regulatory decision
  • you comply with the conditions set out in this regulatory decision
  • your activity does not, and is not likely to, harm human health or cause environmental pollution
  • you have taken all reasonable steps to carry out the activity under your permit

If you think you may not be able to comply with the conditions you must tell Natural Resources Wales immediately.

Natural Resources Wales will monitor how operators use and comply with this regulatory decision through its proportionate, risk-based inspection and monitoring activity.

When we consider whether to exercise our enforcement discretion and allow you to operate under this regulatory decision we will look at:

  • whether the permit conditions and site are suitable - including the infrastructure in place and location of the site
  • the activities being carried out at the site
  • the operational management of the site including your previous performance history
  • any other relevant factors

Use of this regulatory decision will be recorded as a non-compliance with the conditions of your permit, however any score will be suspended and will not impact on your compliance rating providing you comply with the conditions laid out in it.

Review

This regulatory decision will be reviewed by 1 September 2020.

Packaging producer obligations

If you haven't managed to register under the packaging regulations before the original deadline of 7 April 2020 we will not charge you a late registration fee. You will need to register as soon as possible and at the latest by 7 July 2020.

More details are available in our regulatory decision below.

Regulatory decision

This Regulatory Decision relates to the requirement for producers who has obligations under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007 to apply to register with Natural Resources Body of Wales (NRW) or through a scheme by 7 April 2020.

It explains our approach where producers were unable to submit a registration by 7 April 2020 and/or were unable to provide complete and accurate information for the purposes of applying to register due to the impact of ‘Covid-19’ (coronavirus).

Our Decision

Registration on or before 7 April 2020.

An obligated producer of packaging must submit an application to register with NRW or through a compliance scheme on or before 7 April 2020.

Where it was not reasonably practicable for a producer to apply to register on or before 7 April 2020 as a result of the impact of Covid 19 and/or the measures the government has introduced, we will not take enforcement action for the offence of not being registered providing you:

  • apply to register as soon as it is reasonably practicable to do so and in any event by 7 July 2020
  • Satisfy the criteria that the delay in registration was a result of Covid 19
  • The impact of Covid 19, and any resulting measures you have taken in response, are documented in full. Such documents are to be retained for one year and made available to NRW officers on request.

Where, applications to register are submitted on or before 7 July 2020, we will not charge the late registration fee of £110.

Information provided as part of an application to register as a producer of packaging waste

Information required to be provided with an application to register as a producer must be as accurate as reasonably possible, where that is not the case, an application can be refused. It is also both an offence and grounds for cancellation of a registration to knowingly or recklessly provide false or misleading information.

We will not refuse an application to register as a producer or take enforcement action in respect of information supplied to us which is inaccurate or incomplete if it is not reasonably practicable to provide accurate and complete information at the time it is provided as a result of the impact of Covid 19, provided you:

  • have taken appropriate measures to provide information that is as accurate and complete as possible
  • supply the correct and/ complete information as soon as reasonably practicable and in any event by 7 July 2020
  • document in full the measures taken to determine the information, which is or maybe incomplete or inaccurate, which is supplied as part of your registration. Such documents are to be retained for one year and made available to NRW officers on request.

Where information is resubmitted by the 7 July 2020, we will not charge the resubmission fee of £220.

Enforcement

A regulatory decision means that Natural Resources Wales will not normally take enforcement action against you provided:

  • your activity meets the description set out in this regulatory decision
  • you comply with the conditions set out in this regulatory decision
  • your activity does not, and is not likely to, cause environmental pollution or harm human health.

Where a decision to not take enforcement action is made the decision will be documented by NRW.

This Regulatory Decision will be reviewed by 7 July 2020.

Technical competence

We recognise that many elements of maintaining technical competence will have been impacted by the COVID-19 epidemic.

We have adapted our regulatory approach to acknowledge the issues in the areas of:

  • site attendance
  • gaining Environmental Permitting Officer Certificate (EPOC);
  • continued technical Competence
  • provision of evidence for CMS under EU Skills.

More detail is available in our regulatory decision below.

Regulatory decision

Site Attendance

We understand that many operators will be concerned about how they can satisfy attendance requirements whilst sites are running on reduced staffing levels and staff may well be ill or self-isolating. We will be pragmatic in our approach.

  • There is still a requirement to have a technically competent person as a requirement of the permit.
  • The Technical Competence Manager attendance hours are within the relevant guidance and they are an indication that site activities are in being overseen by a technically competent manager.

Operators should:

  • Review their training and capability structure to ensure roles, responsibilities and accident plans are in place and reviewed to ensure that they are fit for purpose.
  • Ensure that remote systems are operational. Alarm systems where required, are fully operational.
  • Have a responsive duty roster to respond to incidents.
  • Notify us where the site cannot be safely monitored.
  • Where the TCM is self-isolating and not sick, every effort should be made to attempt “virtual” support to the site through teleconferencing or video links. This input, duration and method of communication must be recorded in the site diary.
  • Where the TCM is unable to support communications in self-isolation or is sick every effort should be made to identify a suitable replacement TCM. Record if their current nominated TCM(s) are self-isolating/sick in the site diary.
  • Where the TCM is self-isolating or sick (and cannot attend the site) and no TCM cover available. The operator should be able and capable of operating the plant or site safely through both their EMS and operations training using other competent staff for the short time the TCM is unavailable.

Where there has been an inability to make alternative arrangements and a breach of the permit condition occurs then NRW will record the breach on a CAR report and suspend the score.

The following will only apply to an operator who currently complies with the primary qualification and continued competence requirements prior to 16th March 2020.

Continued Technical Competence

In view of Pearson VUE test centres now being closed, Continuing Competence tests are not currently available and until the current Government’s advice changes, we will not regard the failure to complete a continuing competence assessment that became due after 16 March 2020 as being a failure to comply with the CIWM/WAMITAB Operator Competence scheme.

There will be a requirement to demonstrate you have registered with WAMITAB to undertake this test. If this applies to you or your TCM, please contact both NRW and WAMITAB as soon as possible to let us know. WAMITAB are keeping a log of those who have contacted them. NRW will be checking this list.

Where an application for a permit is made and continued competence was due after 16 March, we won’t take that as a failure to prove technical competence and we will determine the application as per normal.

There will be a requirement to demonstrate you have registered with WAMITAB to undertake this test and already have the relevant primary qualifications that align with the type of facility you are making an application for.

It is expected that your test is re-booked as soon as the centres re-open.

Where a permit already exists and obtaining continued competence is not possible. The details will be noted on a compliance assessment report, scored but that score held in suspension.

There is the risk to the operator who fails to achieve continued competence following lifting of restrictions on gaining qualification that that operator will be in breach of the permit or this may delay permit issue. In this instance the operator will be expected to provide replacement TCM cover to remain compliant. 

Environmental Permitting Operator Certificate (EPOC)

Where an operator is relying on the EPOC for permit application or for lower tier risk sites (per WAMITAB tiers). The inability to provide the EPOC for qualification for new permit application or low tier risk sites will not prevent permit application processing.

NRW will continue to process permit applications without the EPOCs providing the applicant is registered with an intent to complete the EPOC.

There will a requirement to demonstrate that you have registered with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and that you provide this proof on a permit application. NRW will check validity with CIWM.

Operator will have to endeavour to resolve this as soon as possible following availability of EPOC Courses.

There is the risk to the applicant that if a permit is issued and the applicant fails to achieve the EPOC qualification following lifting of restrictions that that operator will be in breach of the permit. 

Energy & Utility Skills

Due to the current situation, on site visits for surveillance and auditing purposes may not be possible under the Energy and Utility (EU) Skills scheme. It is usually audited and certificated by accredited Certification Bodies and this includes regular surveillance audits by them to ensure the Competence Management System (CMS) remains effective.

Where possible, NRW will expect remote auditing for the CMS. All Operators will, therefore, be able to undertake a surveillance schedule which continues to demonstrate an effective CMS and compliance with the technical competence requirements.

Where remote surveillance and auditing is in place NRW expect the Operator to make a record of this and that this is available for inspection.

A CMS recognises that all employees on a site contribute to the overall performance of the site and employees’ competence is maintained in real time, so they remain current for their roles. Where this is not possible you are required to inform Natural Resources Wales to assess if there is a non-compliance. If there is this will be recorded on a CAR form and the score held in suspension.

Please note: The CMS does not require a named technically competent manager per site, however, a management representative should be available to deal with any issues that may have an impact on compliance with the conditions of an environmental permit.

There is also no requirement to log site attendance time as it is a holistic approach and recognises that all employees on a site contribute to the overall performance of the site.

This regulatory decision will be valid until valid until 30 September 2020.

Waste carrier copy cards

Due to office closures we are unable to provide waste carrier copy cards at this time.

Your reference number can be used as proof of your registration.

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