Scots defer decision on drum incinerators

A ban on the burning of farm plastics in drum incinerators was not included in new regulations introducing controls on wastes from Scottish farms, quarries and households which came into force on 21 January.1

The Environment Department (DEFRA) is considering whether to introduce such a ban in England and Wales following research by the Environment Agency that showed the practice is a significant health and environmental risk (ENDS Report 359, pp 47-48 ).

In contrast, as forecast by ENDS last summer, Scottish farmers can continue to use drum incinerators if they register for a licence exemption (ENDS Report 354, pp 22-23 ).

As part of its separate consultation on whether to introduce a collection scheme for non-packaging farm plastics, which closes in March, the Executive is seeking views on whether drum incineration should cease or be restricted.

The regulations make miscellaneous changes to waste management legislation, including the revision of the definition of waste to include waste from farms and non-mineral wastes from mines and quarries.

The proposals were issued for consultation a year ago (ENDS Report 349, p 50 ). In contrast, the Environment Department did not issue its proposals for controlling agricultural wastes in England and Wales until December.

The regulations require carriers transporting waste from farms and non-mineral waste from quarries and mines to register with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency - but people who transport only such wastes and no other types, are exempt. There is no requirement - as proposed by DEFRA for England and Wales - for farmers to complete waste transfer notes.

The regulations also repeal the requirement under the waste management licensing regime to review a site's effects on groundwater before issuing a waste management licence. Such assessments will instead be carried out under the 1998 groundwater regulations. A similar change is proposed by in England and Wales.

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