Correspondence from the Environment Agency
to Biffa Waste Services Ltd 5 April 2002
I am writing further to your letter dated 19
October 2001 and my initial response regarding the role of the
regulator in being more or less prescriptive in specifying BPEO.
Please accept my apologies for the delay in providing a full response.
The legislative approach taken to BPEO over
the last decade has focussed primarily on standards, such as emission
limits and technical requirements including Best Available Techniques.
This is reflected in the approach taken by the Agency in not specifying
appropriate technologies, but taking a risk-based approach to
permitting in setting performance standards having regard for
the sensitivity (or vulnerability) of the population and environment
In the case of refrigerators, the Agency (in
discussion with DEFRA) determined that the risks posed by their
storage was of such a defined nature that a standard licence,
applicable in all similar circumstances across the country, would
provide appropriate management of the risks. Such a standard licence
was released for the use of Agency Officers at the end of 2001.
In the case of recovery of Ozone Depleting Substances
(ODS) from refrigerators, a number of technologies already existprincipally
mechanical recovery of ODS and incinerationalthough dismantling
by hand may play a role. Accordingly we are working to define
a standard for the recovery and destruction of ODS. Proposals
for the treatment of refrigerators will be required to meet the
standard whether the treatment will be authorised through a waste
management licence or via PPC or IPC.
The question of a standard licence for storage
of frigerators have been, and the standards for treatment of refrigerator
are being, developed on a strategic basis. In this work we are
mindful of the need to avoid commercial monopolies in favour of
only one particular type of machine.
The Agency does have a certification scheme
know as MCERTS which is concerned with certifying monitoring equipment,
instruments, personnel competency and laboratories against Agency
(MCERTS) performance standards. In principle, it is possible that
this approach could be extended to any technologies or personnel
competency issue of interest to the Agency provided that:
(a) A performance or competency standard
could be drafted.
(b) Conformance testing or assessment procedures
could be drafted by means of which the equipment or person could
be judged as conforming to the Agency's standard.
(c) The arrangement would be cost effective
ie the costs of conformance testing did not exceed the value of
The Agency currently has no plans to extend
this scheme to pollution abatement or recovery technologies, due
to other priorities. I am copying this letter to Stuart Newstead
who is leading our MCERTS work to make him aware of your interest.