Last month I said I was planning to cover the EA’s standard rules consultation (No.14) in detail but now we have the added bonus of two new sets of Landfill Tax legislation amendments to discuss as well. I know, exciting it isn’t but let’s plod on.
Standard Rules Consultation No.14 If you Google “Standard Rules Consultation No.14” the first hit will reveal many documents, which relate to the following, “Use of waste in construction and land reclamation”.
The Standard rules sets SR2010 Nos 7, 8, 9 and 10 will be withdrawn, so if you have one of those permits, you need to read the proposed replacement in case there are site specific issues which have operational implications. A new single set of rules will be adopted “SR2015 No.39 Deposit for Recovery” which will cover all activities that are too large for a U1 exemption (as long as they meet the requirements).
The changes are being made because of the potential risk to groundwater from certain waste types. The maximum input under the permit is a total of 60, 000m3, with more restrictions on waste types and how they are used.
Land spreading and digestate storage Changes to rules sets SR2010 NOs 4, 5, 6 and 17. The changes impose restrictions on activities but increase the range of wastes that can be spread.
Soil recycling Three major changes are proposed to 13 standard rules permits which allow soil recycling activities. The new conditions relate to end of waste status for recovered materials, waste acceptance procedures for soils from known or suspected contaminated sites and clarification of treatment activities for mobile plant permits. The rules sets affected are SR2008 Nos 1-8, 10, 11 and 27 and SR2009 Nos 5 and 6.
The consultation is open until 20th March 2015. If you have any of the above permits I would recommend that you read the consultation and email us if you have any questions before the consultation closes.
THE LANDFILL TAX (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2015 & THE LANDFILL TAX (QUALIFYING FINES) ORDER 2015
Both the regulations and the order affect England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The main impact of the Regulations is to bring in a definition for the “LOI percentage” and “LOI test” as amendments to the Landfill Tax Regulations 1996. They also set out the requirements for retention of samples of fines and reporting of results that exceed the LOI percentage, with failure to comply attracting a £250 penalty for the landfill operator.
The Order duplicates the definitions and updates the definitions in the Landfill Tax (Qualifying Material) Order 2011. The Order changes little in terms of what attracts lower rate tax but makes the requirements for accepting fines stricter, as expected, adding fines to the list of qualifying wastes.
Fines must contain no more than an incidental amount of non-qualifying material and not include hazardous waste (which is illegal to mix anyway). More importantly the fines mixture must “not result from any deliberate or artificial blending or mixing with any quantity of material (including fines), prior to disposal at a landfill site”. The Order places responsibility for the conditions relating to acceptance of fines and therefore the application of the lower rate squarely on the landfill operators, as they have the liability to collect the tax (as expected).
The most important document, however, is the 17 page amendment to “Notice LFT1 A general guide to landfill tax” which can be found at the following link
Again the guidance is aimed at landfill operators but it does give waste operators a detailed indication of the requirements they must meet and prescribes the detail of the LOI (Loss on Ignition) test required. Landfill operators must carry out detailed pre-acceptance checks, which could form part of the annual review of a contract and duty of care season ticket to keep the administration together and reduce duplication. The key points are:
1. The landfill operator must issue a questionnaire and declaration to help determine the frequency of testing.
2. Loads of qualifying fines must be visually inspected on delivery to confirm that they are indeed qualifying.
3. Prescribed testing is required from 1st April 2015 and is done by the landfill operator not the waste producer. Frequency of testing is dependent upon whether the fines are classed as low, medium or high risk with testing required every 1,000 tonnes, 500 tonnes or per load respectively. Refer to the detail in the document for further guidance.
4. Existing customers will have to have their first fines test done before 1st May 2015 or sooner if more than 500 tonnes are delivered by that date. For new customers testing must be done within one month of the deposit of their first load or sooner if more than 500 tonnes are delivered in the first month.
5. Low risk fines must have a LOI of <8% (12% up to 31st March 2016) and the last 20 LOI results are below those thresholds i.e. a single failure in 20 will increase the testing frequency from every 1,000 tonnes or every six months. 6. Medium risk fines must have a LOI of 8-10% (12-15% up to 31st March 2016). 1 in 20 can be above the LOI threshold which is why sampling is required every 500 tonnes or every 3 months. 7. High risk fines can have an LOI of over 10% (15% up to 31st March 2016) but will need to be sampled for every load, which will no doubt be cost prohibitive and intentional on the part of HMRC. 8. Sample failures must be reported and samples can be retested but the ultimate liability lies with the landfill operator, with fixed penalties for failure to retain samples and the required records. Given the gulf between the landfill tax rates, I cannot see landfill operators taking a risk with fines but we do now have a system in place to deal with them. Whether it is practical only time will tell but it will no doubt require greater care when processing mixed wastes to ensure that fines are qualifying. As usual please email any questions for later publication as a single page is never enough to cover these detailed consultations.