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Pullutant Release and Transfer Register - AQ0948

1.1. European Union (EU) Regulation 166/2006/EC concerning the establishment of a Pollutant Release and Transfer Register (E-PRTR) is a directly binding Regulation on all EU Member States. It constitutes the European Union’s response to, and implementation of, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE Kiev) Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers. The UK is a signatory/party to the Protocol.

1.2. Both the E-PRTR Regulation and Kiev Protocol require each Member State/party to set up an online inventory of pollutants and off site waste transfer (waste that is sent to a different site, other than where it was produced) from industrial facilities. This inventory has to be web-based, free and accessible to the public at all times. Other requirements include the coverage of at least 91 pollutants which are specified in Annex II of the E-PRTR Regulation, and that data on releases must cover all media (i.e. air, land and water – including waste water).

1.3. The precise way in which the data is gathered and presented is standardised and specified in the Regulation and all Member States within the EU are required to operate according to the same rules and guidance.

1.4. The E-PRTR Regulation’s Article 5 makes it the responsibility of operators to report to competent authorities who collate and validate the data. In the UK, the competent authorities are the environmental regulators: in England and Wales, the Environment Agency is responsible for what are considered to be the larger, or potentially more polluting, installations. The Authority and the Welsh Assembly Government, via a local authority direction (to approximately 400 Local Authority’s (LAs) in England and Wales), collect information from the comparatively and potentially less polluting installations. In Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency is responsible for all installations. In Northern Ireland, the Department of Environment is the competent authority. The off-shore sector reports to the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC).
The aim of this requirement is to highlight all necessary technical activities, processes and tools required to be performed by the Contractor in order to ensure that the UK continues to meet all obligations in the E-PRTR Regulation and the Kiev Protocol on an annual basis.

3.2. The Contractor will be required to:

• host and manage the existing UK PRTR website and update it as new requirements emerge;
• work within the UK Government Web Guidelines and commit to working flexibly towards meeting new standards and guidance that may come out in the future. This requirement is to be treated as a part of the regular maintenance of the UK PRTR website described in paragraph 3;
• maintain the UK PRTR site ensuring that it is fit for purpose, stable, capable of handling significant volumes of internet traffic and data searches in a variety of ways including, and especially, river basins, Google maps; and showing graphic trends (across years and sectors) in relation to pollutant releases and waste transfers;
• provide regular update windows to allow corrections and updates to take place ;
• ensure that, as a minimum, the current filters and searches are retained.

3.3. The Contractor will be required to maintain and update as necessary all required databases and enhanced validation engine (three tools but the enhanced validation engine is not to be confused with the European Commission’s validation tool mentioned in paragraph 3.6 below) and buffer tables (three) that underpin the UK PRTR website. This includes updating Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) codes, macros, etc where required to ensure full functionality of, and interaction between, the current databases and UK PRTR website; adding new data fields as new requirements emerge and ensuring compatibility with the UK PRTR website.

3.4. The Contractor will be required to update the E-PRTR MS Access template (data transfer utility), which is required by competent authorities to collate data at a regional/competent authority level, as new data requirements emerge. The MS Access data transfer utility is based on the downloadable EC’s MS Access conversion tool referred to in paragraph 3.7 below but it should be noted that the former has VBA codes and can import and carry out basic checks on data while the latter does not.

3.5. The Contractor will be required to develop an online reporting tool, based on web forms, for use by local authorities and local authority-regulated operations in England and Wales. The specific requirements of the online tool are detailed in paragraph 5.

3.6. The Contractor will be required to execute validation queries to ensure the UK-PRTR and E-PRTR datasets are fully aligned, fit for purpose and therefore pass the European Commission’s validation criteria. In so doing, the Contractor will be required to download a free copy of the European Commission’s validation tool/software and use it as part of the validation process. The Contractor will be required to liaise promptly and closely with the Authority’s PRTR lead policy official during data submission cycles by providing error and orphan reports so as to inform prompt, targeted solutions by data providers.

3.7. The Contractor will be required to carry out data preparation activities and publish the data on the UK PRTR website. The Contractor will be required to bring together all data from all sources (from the Devolved Administrations, the Environment Agency, the Department for Energy and Climate Change and local authorities - via the Authority) into one single Access file - the EC’s Access conversion tool so as to allow the Authority policy lead to convert the data to XML and submit it to the European Commission. The European Commission may decide to revisit data submitted from 2007 – 2009. Therefore, should it be necessary to resubmit data for previous cycles, the Contractor will be required to reprocess data from 2007 onwards.

3.8. The Contractor will be required to carry out a review of each year’s dataset that falls within the duration of the contract. The review should include: -

(1) a spreadsheet breakdown of outliers, significant changes, top twenty, missing facilities/pollutants, etc, in data: in year, between years and against thresholds; and
(2) a summary document highlighting key messages with the aid of tables showing possible errors, omissions, etc requiring attention by data providers. The specific requirements of this task are detailed in paragraph 7.

3.8(a) In addition, the Contractor will be required to produce, each year for the duration of the contract, a summary document (between 15 and 30 pages using MS Word) following publication of the data on the UK PRTR site, showing qualitative and quantitative analysis, comparisons, trends and highlights in reported data for pollutants and waste transfers within and across sectors covered by the E-PRTR Regulation’s Annex I. The document, which will be checked and approved by the Authority’s policy official, must be of sufficient quality to be published online and capable of being understood by a non-specialist audience and the public generally.

3.9. The Contractor will be required to keep to data preparation and publication deadlines as agreed with the Authority so as to ensure the UK continues to meet its international and EU obligations.

3.10. The contractor will be required to perform all activities between 3.1 and 3.9 and these involve all aspects of data management including:

• data manipulation;
• data quality assurance (QA) & quality control (QC);
• data validation/verification; and
• data publication and submission (to the Authority for E-PRTR compliance) in a format compatible with the Authority’s requirements under EU and international obligations.

Data collection and collation process

3.11. There are five main Government bodies involved in PRTR data collection and initial validation.

• In England and Wales:
o the Environment Agency is the competent authority for what are considered to be the larger, or potentially more polluting, installations .
o the Authority and the Welsh Government, collect data from the comparatively less polluting installations via Local Authority direction to approximately 400 LAs in England and Wales.
• In Scotland,
o the Scottish Environment Protection Agency is the competent authority for all data from sites in Scotland.
• In Northern Ireland,
o the Northern Ireland Environment Agency is the competent authority.
• Off Shore
o The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) collects data for the off-shore sector.

3.12. Data will be transferred to the Contractor either individually from the data providers/competent authorities or from the PRTR policy lead at the Authority .

3.13. The Contractor carries out validation (completeness, orphans, etc as referred to in the Regulation) on submitted data and generates lists of errors (where existing) on a spreadsheet which should be promptly shared with the Authority’s policy lead and the competent authority to which the error list relates. The competent authority has an obligation to resolve the identified errors (or request that affected data be removed) by working with the Contractor’s contact and the Authority’s policy lead, if required.

3.14. Competent authorities use the MS Access data transfer utility tool that is already in place (or the tool referred to in paragraph 3.7) to collate and submit their data but the MS Access data transfer utility may need updates if new requirements emerge (please refer to paragraph 8 for details). Two other tools are also currently in use for managing data from local authority-regulated installations but these will be discontinued once the online reporting tool for such sites is fully operational by the end of January 2013 .

3.16. There are currently two very important dates regarding submission of data for UK PRTR and E-PRTR purposes. Data for the previous calendar year is to be published on the UKPRTR website by the third Monday in December. However, as the Contractor will require some time to process the information and resolve unforeseen issues, the national dataset will need to reach the Contractor about 30 days before the publication deadline, i.e. the third Monday in November. This will either be provided by the Authority’s PRTR policy lead or provided directly by each of the competent authorities, mentioned in 3.11. The second date has already been discussed in paragraph 2.4 above. It refers to the submission deadline of the UK’s dataset, mandated by Article 7 of the E-PRTR Regulation as 31 March, annually.

3.17. Therefore, for illustration purposes, the UK’s 2011 dataset needs to be published on the UK PRTR website by the third Monday in December 2012 and submitted to the European Commission by 31 March 2013.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2012

To: 2017

Cost: £259,476
Contractor / Funded Organisations
A E A Technology plc (AEA)
Fields of Study
Air Quality