22 May, 2022

BFPA identifies a ‘land-mark’ ruling

17 June, 2015

BFPA CEO Chris Buxton reports on having reached a much needed conclusion with the Environment Agency on the treatment of waste hoses and associated PPE in mobile applications.

The British Fluid Power Association (BFPA) is pleased to report that following extensive discussions with the English Environment Agency the much discussed and contentious issue of transporting waste hoses and the associated PPE from mobile sites and on mobile call-outs has been resolved satisfactorily. After many months of discussion and correspondence it has been agreed that such materials in these circumstances will not be treated as hazardous waste and going forwards, operators will no longer require consignment notes and the associated administration system for removing these wastes and transporting them back to a depot for disposal or recovery. It is estimated that this much applauded clarification will save the industry approximately £18 million a year, not to mention the likely unauthorised disposal of waste materials through casual discard or ‘fly-tipping’.

Significant result

The significance of this result should not be underestimated. Whenever any hazardous waste is moved from the site at which it is produced, regulations demand that it be accompanied by a hazardous waste consignment note. Completion of the consignment note requires the producer and/or carrier of the waste to provide full and accurate details relating to the nature of the waste, which is a labour-intensive exercise, and to produce multiple copies to be provided to, and retained by, multiple parties involved in the chain of possession of the waste. Consignees of the waste are then required to provide a quarterly report to the Environment Agency which provides details of all consignments they have accepted during the quarter. Fees are payable by consignees in respect of each quarterly report filed. The fees vary, but in broad terms, a fee of £10 is payable in respect of each individual consignment accepted during the quarter. Status as a consignee therefore creates significant financial exposure. Unfortunately, ‘consignee’ is a fairly strict term. It is not just the business which ultimately disposes or recovers the waste which is a consignee. Any business which brings back its own hazardous waste produced at a customer’s premises is also a ‘consignee’.

The BFPA oversaw some considerable research into the classification and assessment of waste contaminated with hydraulic oils. This included a review of 100s of safety data sheets, along with an analysis of associated on-site procedures and close scrutiny of the European and domestic law. This work concluded that these particular oils did not display any hazardous properties. It has been confirmed that going forwards, waste hydraulic hoses and the associated PPE and oily rags generated in mobile applications, which contain residues of or are contaminated by these particular hydraulic oils, will not be classified as hazardous waste. They will not therefore be subject to the tighter controls of the Hazardous Waste Regulations. This landmark ruling comes at a time when the industry is seeing long awaited signs of growth in the mobile construction and transport/infrastructure sector thus it is particularly welcome.

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