THE Environment Agency has announced that changes to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2016 mean that operators of permitted waste facilities will need to include details of which technical competence scheme they are complying with in their waste returns in future.
For those who subscribe to the CIWM/WAMITAB Operator Competence Scheme this includes the name and date of birth of the Technically Competent Managers (TCM) for the permitted facility on each waste return. This information will allow the Agency to conduct some desk-based regulatory activity prior to planning site visits.
WAMITAB envisage that they will do this in a number of ways:
- Analysing returns across all permitted sites to determine those who are using the same TCM, and subsequently determining the physical and logistical implications of those multi-site TCM’s to ensure that time-on-site requirements are able to be routinely met;
- Identifying trends that may be present where TCM’s operate across a number of permitted sites;
- Monitoring changes between TCM’s at sites over time, and impacts this may have on site compliance;
- Verifying TCM data by accessing the WAMITAB QuartzWeb database. The database allows Regulators to search for an individual’s Operator Competence data, including name, date of birth, date of registration and date of certification for both primary qualifications and continuing competence. This means that the validity of TCM data provided on returns can be immediately checked in just a few clicks – a tool available at permit application, waste return or any other regulatory intervention.
WAMITAB welcomes this evolution of waste regulation, and can foresee that this has the potential to become a powerful tool in the Agency’s plans to ensure focussed, effective and risk-based regulation. They have worked with the Agency to ensure that a key aspect of this regulatory control, the ability to check the validity of qualifications and continuing competence achievements, is available to enforcement officers nationally at any time.
Katie Cockburn, Head of Qualifications at WAMITAB said: “We strongly believe that the qualifications which underpin the Operator Competence Scheme offer opportunities to professionalise, strengthen and protect the industry and its many employees. Working alongside the Regulators in both England and Wales to ensure that these qualifications and certificates are not subject to fraudulent activity has been a key focus for us in recent months.
“This has included the provision of QuartzWeb access to more Agency enforcement officers than ever before, the introduction of QR codes on WAMITAB certificates which link directly to WAMITAB learner records and plans for training sessions with regulatory personnel to ensure that the Operator Competence Scheme is applied consistently.”
Chris James, WAMITAB CEO, concluded: “It is WAMITAB’s business to provide high-quality qualifications to the waste and resource management industry; it is the business of the Environment Agency to enforce these Operator Competence requirements; but it is the business of every permitted waste facility to ensure the safety and health of their employees and their environment, and we can only do this by working together to achieve a positive and common goal.”