Environmental permit competence requirements: changes to technically competent manager attendance

Closed 9 Aug 2021

Opened 14 Jun 2021

Feedback expected 8 Nov 2021

Results updated 12 Nov 2021

Introduction

We wanted to hear your views on the proposed options and changes to the attendance requirements for Technically Competent Managers (TCMs). These included:

  • how the current technical competence attendance requirements work
  • options for changes to calculating attendance and other proposed changes to the attendance requirements
  • proposed implementation timescales

How we ran the consultation

We ran our consultation for 8 weeks from 14 June to 9 August 2021. We invited your comments using our online consultation tool, Citizen Space, and Gov.uk. We also received responses using offline consultation response forms.

We asked 18 questions and received 75 responses to the consultation. Your responses comprised of:

  • 32 site operators/companies with permits
  • 18 from trade associations and other organisations/groups
  • 12 from consultants
  • 5 from local authorities
  • 8 from individuals/members of the public

Summary of key findings and actions we will take

You generally agreed that new guidance was needed to explain the attendance requirements for TCMs. You gave us your views on which of the three options presented for calculating the attendance requirements you preferred:

Option 1 - Attendance linked to charge bands (36%)

Option 2 - Standard baseline attendance for all waste facilities: (16%)

Option 3 - Tailored baseline attendance for waste operations and waste installations: (30.67%)

No preference - (14.67%) (Please note 2 respondents (2.67%) did not provide an answer to this question).

Many of you highlighted the likelihood of environmental benefits should TCM attendance increase at poor performing sites, depending on the specific circumstances. Approximately 75% of you supported the adjustment of the attendance requirement based on operator performance, with those in deteriorating or poor compliance bands needing an increased TCM attendance.

Some of you told us that applying an attendance requirement for the Environmental Services Association/Energy & Utility Skills technical competence scheme would undermine the purpose of this scheme. However, you generally supported the other proposals relating to the 48 hour attendance cap, 24 hour operations, multiple regulated facilities and mothballed sites.

For permit transfers, some of you highlighted situations where transfers were administrative and in those instances, you did not agree with previously agreed TCM attendance requirements reverting back to those required by the guidance.

For closed landfill attendance requirements nearly 40% of you agreed with the proposals, whilst 50% of you did not have a view. This may be because the majority of that 50% do not have activities involving the management of closed landfills.

The majority of you did not have a view on the proposals for mobile plant attendance requirements. About one third of you supported the proposals on mobile plant and less than 10% disagreed.

Nearly half of you supported a 12-month implementation period for the new guidance as, for example, this would give operators time to understand the new guidance and train or recruit additional TCMs if required.

We received a broad range of views from you which will help us develop our attendance requirements for TCMs guidance.

Next Steps

We continue to review all the comments you provided during the consultation and will produce a final consultation response document by the end of January 2022. This gives us time to further analyse your responses and how we intend addressing them. We aim to launch a further consultation by summer 2022 with further details of the proposed option and other proposed changes to the attendance requirements going forwards. We will take into account your responses, where appropriate.

To follow up your response in more detail, please contact us at WasteTreatment@environment-agency.gov.uk.

Overview

For operators demonstrating competence through the scheme run jointly by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WAMITAB), we, the Environment Agency, require that sites have nominated technically competent manager(s) (TCMs) on site for a specified amount of time a week. This is called the attendance requirement.

Operators who are applying for an environmental permit for a waste operation must be members of and comply with a government approved technical competency scheme. Most existing waste environmental permit holders must also comply with a government approved technical competency scheme through the conditions in their permits. The two approved schemes are:

Please note we are not responsible for content from these external links.

We have considered and ruled out the option of continuing with the current TCM attendance requirements. Our aim is to simplify the requirements for both industry and regulators and provide greater clarity of what the attendance requirements are. We previously calculated the attendance requirement based on the Operational Risk Appraisal Guidance (OPRA Guidance). However, the OPRA Guidance has been withdrawn, barring the sections relating to attendance levels for technically competent managers.

The attendance requirement is currently based on 20% of operational hours for standard rules permits, or for bespoke permits in the OPRA Guidance.

We need to make changes to attendance requirements, so that poor performers receive additional supervision by TCMs to rectify non-compliances and reduce risk. We also aim to provide clarity for industry on the requirements for TCM attendance in certain situations for example where there are 24 hour operations, sites with multiple facilities and mothballed operations.

The Growth Duty requires us and other national regulators to take into account promoting economic growth, alongside our other statutory duties. As part of this duty we will assess the financial impacts of the options and changes we have presented in this consultation. You can help inform our decisions by responding to the questions.

We will consider all the responses we receive and publish a consultation response on GOV.UK. Your responses will also help shape a second consultation, if required.

How the current attendance requirement works

The WAMITAB/CIWM Operator Competence Scheme (Version 9, May 2020) states: 'Any permitted waste management facility participating in this scheme to demonstrate operator competence is required to have at least one confirmed Technically Competent Person available on site for the appropriate amount of time each week as stated in the latest Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales guidance'.

Some operators are part of this scheme if one of the following applies:

  • We have assessed you as technically competent before qualifications for your activity existed
  • You were ‘deemed’ competent when the Waste Management Licensing Regulations 1994 (now superseded by the Environmental Permitting Regulations) came into force because you were already managing a waste site
  • Our assessment, or the ‘deemed’ competency, are still valid and you can be named as the technically competent person for that same activity on new applications

Your TCM(s) must be on site for the required time each week. You can find details of how the attendance requirement is currently calculated, and other rules associated with TCM attendance, in our guidance on how much time your technically competent manager must be on site.

The requirements for how much time TCM(s) need to be on site does not currently apply to the ESA/EU Skills approved operator competence scheme. However, we expect key site personnel to be on site at similar levels of attendance to TCM(s) operating under the WAMITAB/CIWM Operator Competence Scheme. This should be demonstrated through the operator's management system.

Why your views matter

We would like your views on:

  • Proposed options for changes to the attendance requirements for technically competent managers
  • Other rules associated with the attendance requirements
  • Implementation timescales
  • What the impacts are for you

We will consider your answers and comments. We will use them to revise future attendance requirements. We will consult on these revisions, if required, before we adopt them.

This consultation will be of interest to: Waste operators, trade associations and businesses.

This is your opportunity to ensure that revisions to the attendance requirements work for you and your industry, and protect the environment and human health. We would like any suggestions you may have on the options and proposed changes.

Technical competence scheme providers, other regulators, the public, community groups and non-governmental organisations with an interest in environmental issues.

This is your opportunity to ensure that the proposed changes work for the approved technical competence schemes, and protect the environment and human health.

This is also your opportunity to ensure that the proposed changes work for the approved technical competence schemes, and protect the environment and human health.

Please use the related documents below to help in your response.

Audiences

  • Businesses
  • Local councils
  • Operators
  • Trade associations and business
  • Other regulators
  • Members of the public
  • Non-governmental organisations with an interest in environmental issues

Interests

  • Waste
  • Environmental permitting