Although at present, there are no legal requirements on the waste industry to enforce health, social and environmental standards for exported recyclable materials, waste and recycling companies in the UK are under great pressure to supply all licenses and literature documenting and proving their good practice.
Planning consent – which every waste company needs to get from their local authority or council – is often difficult to get. Your ideal site or waste transfer centre may be in a central location within an urban environment, but it likely won’t happen. Local residents often object to and even block waste projects.
To find out exactly what your legal obligations are regarding licensing, registration, and operation, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and its public body, the Environment Agency should be your first port of call. It can also be difficult to get relevant licensing from the Environment Agency, as specifications are quite particular.
For licensing of vehicles you should contact the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. These bodies will be able to tell you exactly what your company’s responsibilities are, depending on your specialty.
The Chartered Institute of Wastes Management and the Environmental Services Association offer training courses on everything from waste carriers and related controls to Duty of Care and environmental permitting and exemptions.
It’s worth noting that if your company has overlooked legislation, but has made every effort to comply, you’ll most likely get your knuckles rapped and get a fine, but no more. A lot of authorities are understanding if you can provide evidence that you’re trying your best.
However, as Jason says, you should try to get things right from the start: “People should definitely not factor in fining! They should try get it right the first time round. The Environment Agency is happy to help.”