The Environment Agency said its officers will increase its monitoring activities for sites issuing packaging waste recovery notes (PRNs) in 2019.
The Agency’s actions follow on from responses to criticism levelled at the EA and Environment Secretary Michael Gove over a lack of oversight for premises issuing PRNs, especially those involved in the exportation of materials for recycling overseas.
Criticism came from Parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee, as well as the Committee’s chair – the Labour MP Mary Creagh, who questioned EA’s records with sites labelled as ‘high risk’ of non-compliance with regulations around handling packaging waste.
Inspections for those ‘high risk’ companies for non-compliance will be doubled in 2019, according to the regulator, with a target to carry out 160 site audits compared to 80 in 2018.
Work will be carried out to identify packaging producers that are likely to be obligated to fund the recycling of their products, but may not be paying in to the system.
Another objective will involve Agency officers visiting every ‘large’ site, which is accredited to issue PRNs – those issuing PRNs on over 400 tonnes of material.
The Agency said: “We may carry out more than one site inspection on some operators if our intelligence, or our assessment of the risks, tells us this is needed. Site inspections may be pre-arranged or unannounced. Some sites may receive both types.
“We will use risk profiling for site inspections for small accredited operators. There’s a cap on the ability of accredited small operators to issue evidence and this reduces the risks. But this does not mean that they will not be part of our site inspection compliance monitoring programme.”