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Overview of Biowaste regulatory forum meeting - June 2015

The REA meet on a quarterly basis with the Environment Agency, Defra and other stakeholders to discuss issues relevant to the biowaste industry. This meeting took place last week (June 2015) in London and Jeremy Jacobs and Alexander Maddan attended on behalf of the REA and ORG.

A wide arrange of topics were discussed starting with the sampling methodology for plant and animal and plant pathogens at ABPR compliant facilities. There has been a lack of consistency shown in the field from the AHPA as to where the correct place to take the E-Coli and Salmonella samples from. Neil Leach from AHPA provided some clarity on this and will be providing some ‘guidelines’ shortly for industry. In brief, E-coli samples can be taken directly after the compost exits the high temperature phase of the composting process, this demonstrates that this phase of the process has achieved the correct temperature. Salmonella sampling however needs to be taken at the end of the maturation phase at the time of screening. This is to demonstrate that there has not been any cross contamination between the clean and dirty ends of the process. We look forward to receiving this clarification from AHPA.

Mat Davis from the EA spoke about the recent consultation on landspreading which the REA responded to in length. It would appear that the EA has listened at least in part to the concerns we raised last year and that one of our greatest concerns regarding the reduction of storage of digestate from 12 months to six has been thrown out, this is great news and reflects the feedback we received from members. A full list of the EAs conclusions will be released in July with an opportunity for members to comment on this.

The EA also provided the group with details of the recent desktop health and safety audit carried out on AD sites in England. They surveyed 147 sites and reported that of these 29 were not considered to be safe and required significant works to be carried out on them in order for the EA to allow their staff to proceed on site. The point was raised by one of the attendees, that are the EA best qualified to make H&S assessments on sites. In addition Viv Dennis from the EA had some positive messages for the sector by saying that the number of significant pollution events for 2014/15 had fallen from 8.1/100 permits issued the previous year to 5.7/100 permits in 2014/15, this is encouraging news for the sector.

Should you have any issues of significance that you wish to be highlighted at this meeting in the future please let Jeremy know the details and we will be happy to raise them.

Published 24/06/15

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