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Review of environmental impacts of spreading waste to land - WR1103

Description
It is considered that exemptions from environmental permitting (previously waste management licensing) have been a successful mechanism for helping to regulate waste management activities in England and Wales in a proportionate way. The Government and the Welsh Assembly Government intend to continue to make use of exemptions from permitting and to develop a transparent and consistent way of doing so.

This project is part of the current review of exemptions, the aim of which is to provide a more risk-based and proportionate approach to the regulation of waste recovery and disposal operations, complementing the proposed new environmental permitting and compliance regime. The review is looking at which activities should be covered by exemptions and which should be covered by permits. It is examining how this boundary could change to reflect the goal of a more risk based approach to exemptions.

To help inform the process, Defra proposes to commission a short study to examine any environmental impacts of the activity of spreading waste on land, the extent of this activity and agronomic benefits conferred.
Objective
The overall aim of this project is to provide Defra with evidence on the extent and impacts of the activity of spreading waste on land to inform the policy options on the appropriate level of regulation and controls to mitigate environmental risk.

Objectives

1 To investigate the impact of waste spread for agronomic benefit or ecological improvement on agricultural land for all the wastes listed in column 2 of the table in paragraph 7 of schedule 3 to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 and those list in the Environment Agency¡¦s regulatory position statement on landspreading (at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/commondata/acrobat/mwrp_001_2034627.pdf) but in particular examining:
- waste from the preparation and processing of meat, fish and other foods of animal origin; wastes from processing of fruit, vegetables, cereals, oils, cocoa, coffee (other than coffee grounds) tea, tobacco, conserve production, yeast and yeast extract production, molasses preparation and fermentation
- wastes from sugar processing, other than soil from cleaning and washing beet
- wastes from the dairy products industry
- wastes from the baking and confectionery industry
- wastes from the production of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages
- wastes from pulp, paper and cardboard production and processing
- wastes from the textile industry
- wastes from calcification and hydration of lime
- gypsum from power stations or from the manufacture of cement, lime and plaster
- soil from excavating contaminated sites
- dredging spoil other than that produced from farm ditches or non-controlled waters for habitat creation or maintenance
- compost, liquor and digestate from anaerobic or aerobic treatment of source-segregated biodegradable waste
- biobed material
- any other categories identified during investigation.

2 To investigate the extent of the spreading of waste on non-agricultural land in order to beneficially condition it. To determine what wastes are used in this way and for what purposes and including all the wastes listed in column 2 of the table in paragraph 7 of schedule 3 to the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 but in particular examining:
- plant tissue waste from forestry, aquaculture, horticulture and fishing - waste bark and cork from wood processing; the production of panels and furniture or from pulp, paper and cardboard production and processing
- de-inked paper sludge and de-inked paper pulp from pulp, paper and cardboard production and processing
- sludges from treatment of urban waste water
- sludges from water clarification
- sludges from soil remediation

3 In particular to examine for each of the waste streams:
- The nature of the waste
- How uniform or variable the waste stream is
- The cumulative impact of contaminants and therefore safe loading rates
- What nature of the benefit to agriculture and/or ecological improvement each waste stream confers by spreading
- The extent and the impact of the spreading of waste
- To explore any evidence that permitting this activity would reduce its impact on the environment or the local amenity.

Project Documents
• Final Report : Review of environmental impacts of spreading waste to land   (3463k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2008

To: 2009

Cost: £49,713
Contractor / Funded Organisations
WRc plc
Keywords
Agricultural Land              
Biowaste              
Environmental Impact              
Environmental Protection              
Systems for Resource Recovery              
Waste              
Waste Management              
Fields of Study
Waste Management