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SEPA cuts red tape in waste regulations

21st December 2008

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has announced further steps to
reduce bureaucracy, while still ensuring high levels of environmental protection.

Changes have been put in place to how SEPA enforces three sets of regulations; the Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations (WEEE) and the Trans Frontier Shipment Regulations (TFS). They have been made as part of the environment watchdog's continuing drive to implement better regulation, helping companies to fulfil their environmental regulations and allowing more attention to be paid to those that do not.

SEPA's Director of Environmental Protection and Improvement, Colin Bayes, said: "An important part of SEPA's job is to help companies meet the requirements of the regulations they must follow. Sometimes however, there are aspects of the legislation that we are tasked with enforcing that increases bureaucracy without giving environmental benefit. Where appropriate, SEPA will take a position such that it will not enforce certain aspects of legislation. This does not mean that our dedication to environmental protection and improvement will suffer, in fact it will allow us to put more time and resources towards dealing with free-loaders and those who continue to flout the law."

Producer Responsibility (Packaging Waste) Regulations and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations (WEEE)

Previously audit reports had to be submitted to SEPA for both packaging waste and WEEE. However, as Scotland's environment watchdog SEPA already carries out audits of companies, so these reports provide no added benefit or protection of the environment. Therefore, the submission of the audit reports will not be required by SEPA in relation to packaging waste or WEEE recycled, or exported for recycling, during 2008 (Note: the audit is for the previous year).

Trans Frontier Shipment Regulations (TFS)
Annex VII documents are required for every shipment of waste that moves between countries. A copy of the Annex VII travels with the waste and a copy is sent to SEPA. Data from the form is entered onto a database and allows SEPA to identify potentially illegal shipments. However, as the majority of all identified illegal movements of waste are to countries that are not part of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), SEPA has decided it will no longer require the submission of Annex VII forms for movements of waste to OECD countries if that is to be the waste's final destination.

The form that accompanies the shipment must still be fully completed and a copy kept on record for examination by SEPA officers. The movement must also comply with all other requirements of the TFS and Waste Shipments Regulations (WSR). Movements to non-OECD countries will still require the Annex VII form to be completed in full and submitted to SEPA prior to the shipment taking place.

SEPA is also currently working to develop an online system to submit and handle Annex VII forms, which will make the process quicker and easier to administer. When the system is up and running, all Annex VII forms will be required to be submitted through this system, including all OECD shipments.

Both of these positions are temporary and may be reviewed and amended as necessary to ensure high levels of environmental protection and legal compliance. At the latest the TFS position will be review by 30 June 2009, and the WEEE & packaging position by 30 November 2009.

The changes to the regulations can be found on our website on the following

for packaging -

for WEEE -

For the Annex VII forms position -


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