The Environment Agency communicated their latest regulatory update on 30 June, detailing operational developments in light of the pandemic
The Environment Agency have provided a further update since their initial announcement in April regarding the measures they were taking to continue fulfilling regulatory duties throughout COVID-19. Since then, developments have taken place, so we have summarised the key points for obligated producers to be aware of below.
We communicated the Environment Agency’s Regulatory Position Statement for packaging producers (RPS C9) when it was released at the end of April, which you can read more about in our news story HERE, and it has been confirmed that the allowance for packaging producers to register up until 7 July without incurring any Environment Agency late registration fees, will be allowed to expire. Allowing the statement to expire means that any registrations or required re-submissions of data post 7 July 2020, will be subject to the usual late fees.
WEEE and waste collections
The Regulatory Position Statement implemented for ensuring social distancing when signing and handing over waste transfer and consignment notes in person (RPS C8 – read the full guidance HERE) which is to be adhered to by waste collection companies when facilitating a collection from a business’ site, has been extended to continue until 30 September 2020.
General operational EA updates
Overall, the Environment Agency are continuing to regulate and remain fully operational with the majority of their staff working from home presently. To address issues such as prosecuting waste criminals, regulating hazardous sites and ensuring the continuation of flood risk projects, they have frontline staff who remain on the ground to carry out this work.
Moving forward, the EA are taking an incremental approach to their staff returning to the workplace, as well as a phased re-introduction of field-based compliance and enforcement activity; at the current time they are carrying out low risk field-based compliance activities that do not involve coming into contact with other people.
Finally, in terms of physical inspections, due to the government guidelines, the EA have utilised technology to replace face to face visits with virtual inspections, which you can read more about HERE, and they are planning to start socially distant site inspections in the coming weeks.
Environment Agency’s full regulatory response to COVID-19
You can access this statement which details the EA’s full approach to regulation and enforcement during the coronavirus outbreak HERE