DoE plans new exemptions from "technical competence" rules

Proposals to expand the scope of a temporary exemption from the requirement for waste management facilities to be run by "technically competent" persons were revealed in a consultation letter circulated by the Department of the Environment (DoE) last month.

The exemption dealt with in the letter was established by the regulations on waste management licensing introduced in May under the Environmental Protection Act 1990. Section 74 of the Act requires all licensed facilities to be "in the hands of" a technically competent person, and for this purpose a system of certificates of technical competence has been established by the Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB).

As a transitional measure, the regulations introduced two exemptions from this requirement. The more important of these exempts anyone who has managed a licensed site in the 12 months before 10 August 1994 and who has applied to WAMITAB for the relevant certificate from the need to hold such a certificate until 10 August 1999.

According to the consultation letter, the DoE has been lobbied to widen the scope of this exemption. Ministers have accepted that this should be done for two types of case.

One is where a person has managed a waste management facility authorised by HM Inspectorate of Pollution or a local authority under Part I of the 1990 Act and who is now managing a facility subject to waste management licensing. Such a person will qualify for the transitional exemption until 1999 if he or she applies for a WAMITAB certificate by 10 April 1995.

The second extension will apply to anyone who has managed a waste operation which was not required to be licensed under the Control of Pollution Act 1974, but which must now be licensed under the 1990 Act. The deadline for licence applications for such facilities is 30 April 1995, and the DoE is proposing that anyone who has managed such an operation in the 12 months before that date should also benefit from the transitional exemption on broadly the same terms.

However, the DoE is proposing to reject pleas for two further classes of exemption. One is where someone managed a licensed site before 10 August 1993, when the qualifying period began. The DoE says that such hard luck cases were always bound to emerge out of the woodwork, but at present it has no intention of accommodating them.

The second class of case is for individuals managing processes new to the waste field or sites which are being newly developed. Here the DoE believes it is particularly important that waste regulation authorities are able to satisfy themselves that such facilities are run by technically competent persons.

The legal changes needed to implement these proposals will be made as part of the impending regulations which will amend the licensing regime as it applies to scrap metal processing and vehicle dismantling (see above).

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