Scotish Government / SEPA position statement on Waste Incineration Directive (WID)
Waste Incineration Directive - Implementation and Enforcement
Position of Scottish Government and SEPA
The Waste Incineration Directive (WID) - Directive 2000/76/EC - was published on 28 December 2000. It applied to new plants from 28 December 2002 and existing plants from 28 December 2005. It was transposed into Scottish Legislation through the Waste Incineration (Scotland) Regulations 2003 (S.S.I. 2003/170) and, in practice, through the Pollution Prevention and Control regime. SEPA was also directed by Scottish Ministers (The Pollution Prevention and Control (Waste Incineration Directive) (Scotland) Directions 2003) to ensure that permits included such conditions as it considered necessary to give effect to the provisions of WID.
WID contains a number of exclusions from its provisions, namely the incineration of specific wastes such as vegetable waste from agriculture and forestry, similar waste from the food processing industry if the heat generated is recovered, wood waste with the exception of that which may contain specific coatings and preservatives (such as that from the construction and demolition sector), animal carcasses, waste from offshore oil and gas exploitation incinerated on the installation, and fibrous vegetable waste from the production of paper and pulp, if it is co-incinerated at the place of production and provided the heat generated is recovered. In addition, WID makes provision for some specific conditions such as operating temperatures to be set by national competent authorities such as SEPA as part of the permitting process, subject to other Directive requirements being met.
Scottish Government recognises that WID introduces important new provisions to control emissions from incineration and co-incineration plants in order to protect human health and the environment. It is accepted that implementing WID in a proportionate manner can be challenging for both regulators and regulated organisations. WID compliance in some cases may result in new burdens on businesses that may be difficult to justify in terms of environmental benefit or protecting human health. In view of the concerns expressed by industry, Scottish Government has worked closely with SEPA and the UK Government to ensure that the Directive is applied fairly and consistently.
A particular problem has arisen in relation to the burning of tallow. Scottish Government has strongly supported the UK’s representations to the European Commission requesting an early amendment to WID to remove plants burning only tallow from the scope of the Directive. Scottish Government and SEPA believe that the controls introduced by the Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control Directive alone, based on the application of Best Available Techniques, are sufficient to provide a high level of protection for the environment and human health from the burning of tallow. However, the Commission advised all Member States in April 2007 that it saw no justification for amending WID in relation to the burning of tallow and that all plants burning waste tallow must be brought into WID-compliance as soon as possible. Scottish Government and SEPA have recognised, however, that because of changes, or proposed changes, to the Waste Framework Directive and Animal By-Products Regulation (ABPR), there may be scope for SEPA to revisit its end-of-waste test and, for example, the way it might deal with tallow burning. SEPA is working closely with other UK regulators to consider whether there is scope to remove tallow burning from WID control during the period before the ABPR changes come into force.
Scottish Government is clear that it does not wish to impose disproportionate regulation on businesses and that it makes no sense to impose regulatory burdens on businesses without a corresponding demonstrable benefit to the environment or human health. While SEPA is legally obliged to continue to implement WID-compliance, it is important it does so in a consistent way and takes a proportionate approach to enforcement. However, SEPA cannot elect to implement selective parts of a Directive for a particular plant, particularly where the Commission has provided an unambiguous steer on how a Directive is to be implemented, as is the case with WID and tallow.
Scottish Government will continue to work closely with SEPA and UK Government to support any proposal to amend European legislation to remove disproportionate regulatory burden on industry, and will continue to support vigorously UK Government’s approaches to the Commission in relation to WID and tallow. While the implementation of WID has not been “gold-plated”, SG cannot sanction any regulatory approaches that would result in a Directive being partially implemented or inappropriately delayed. That would result in inconsistent regulation and would be likely to be contrary to the requirements of the Scotland Act. While legislative constraints might mean there is little scope to reduce regulatory controls in some instances, Scottish Government will continue to work in partnership with other UK administrations and regulators to deliver effective, fair and consistent regulation.
It is for SEPA to take appropriate enforcement action if non-compliance with environmental legislation is detected. As part of its Better Regulation agenda, SEPA has assured the Scottish Government that it will continue to employ a pragmatic and proportionate permitting strategy and that any enforcement action will be risk-based and consistent with the principles contained within its published enforcement policy. SEPA will continue to work closely with businesses to advise on the best means of complying with legislation and will make full use of the limited flexibilities available under WID.
Site Last Updated - 20/01/2013 22:21:06
Crackdown on waste incinerator that breached toxic pollution limits - Rob EdwardsTrying to move Scotland towards zero waste - Rob EdwardsPioneering waste plant faces legal action after pollution leaks and an explosion - heraldscotlandNew Year...new campaign newsletterDovesdale campaigners submit petition to Holyrood - Gazette