Environment Minister Jane Kennedy revealed the potential impact of proposals contained in Defra and the Environment Agency’s review of exemptions when replying to a parliamentary question from Adrian Bailey, the Labour MP for West Bromwich West ( 2 March).
Kennedy said: “In England and Wales there are currently 1,893 sites operating under the existing exemption from environmental permitting which applies to the recovery of scrap metal or the dismantling of motor vehicles.” She indicated that more than 600 sites would need to move to new permits, but declined to give an estimation of the costs to business.
BMRA director general Lindsay Millington said: “We have repeatedly advised Defra and the EA that these exemption proposals will put an additional squeeze on small-scale recyclers who already have to cope with an unreasonable administrative burden imposed by legislation and regulation. We have still not seen any evidence of environmental risk to support the proposals.
But Defra and the EA continue to pursue an option that will increase operation costs, require new competence certificates and increase the uncertainty by requiring new planning consents to be obtained. There is a real risk that these proposals will put valuable recyclers out of business and further hamper the UK’s ability to compete in the global metal recycling market. This is highly inappropriate, especially given today’s economic climate.”
The BMRA has written to Kennedy to seek an urgent meeting with industry representatives and has called on Defra and the EA to “abandon their proposals” on exemptions.