Tuesday, 11 October 2011

More Q&A from the NLWA (no point asking Barnet anything)


Question 1:
Clarification of the status of the 'North London Joint Waste Strategy' (the what?)

Question: The NLWA web site says the following:
Q: How does the 'North London Joint Waste Strategy' fit in with the procurement and the 'North London Waste Plan'?

A: The North London Waste Plan identifies where in north London sites to deal with all waste could be situated.

The North London Joint Waste Strategy sets out how municipal waste is going to be dealt with in north London through to 2020.

The procurement process is the identification of what facilities are needed to manage the municipal waste. Each of these processes contribute to a new environmentally sustainable approach for managing waste in north London into the future."
Does that mean that the NLWP is only about "Sites", and not about "Issues"?

Or how do the NLWP (intended to be 2012) and the NLJWS (of 2008) interrelate, and have preference?

Answer: The list below sets out the similarities and differences between the 'North London Waste Plan' (NLWP) and the 'North London Joint Waste Strategy' (NLJWS).

In summary, the NLWP is a waste ‘development plan document’ or waste DPD. As such, its scope is to set out suitable sites for waste facilities and waste planning policies, i.e. the policies to be used by the seven north London boroughs when considering planning applications for new waste facilities, so it sets a framework for waste planning decision-making in north London.

Regarding the NLWP and the NLJWS:
  • both plans predict waste arisings into the future
  • both plans are seeking to provide a framework for waste management in north London (albeit with differing scopes – the NLJWS covers broad decisions on what to do, whilst the NLWP principally covers ‘where’)
  • both plans cover the following geographic area: Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Hackney, Haringey, Islington and Waltham Forest.
NLWP: North London Waste Plan
NLJWS: North London Joint Waste Strategy
1. Description
  • NLWP: Spatial strategy for waste planning in north London – a waste DPD 
  • NLJWS: Strategy for municipal waste management in north London.
2. Scope
  • NLWP: Municipal, i.e. local authority collected, and commercial and industrial waste
  • NLJWS: Municipal, i.e. local authority collected waste only. 
3. Partners 
  • NLWP: Seven Partners - developed by the seven north London boroughs in their capacities as planning authorities 
  • NLJWS: Eight Partners - developed by the seven north London boroughs in their capacities as waste collection authorities, and the NLWA as a waste disposal authority.
4. Use
  • NLWP: To guide boroughs in their roles as waste planning authorities
  • NLJWS: To guide the North London Waste Authority (NLWA) and the seven constituent borough councils in their roles in collecting and managing municipal waste. 
5. Targets
  • NLWP: Provides details of how the seven boroughs will collectively meet the ‘apportionment’ targets, i.e. the target amounts of waste that must be managed within each borough that are set out in the London Plan. The NLWP specifically allocates land sufficient to allow the apportionment targets to be met
  • NLJWS: Sets out how the jointly agreed recycling and landfill diversion targets set by the seven boroughs and the NLWA in line with the Mayor’s Municipal Waste strategy will be met in broad strategic terms.
6. Requirement for producing a joint strategy
  • NLWP: There is no requirement to produce a joint strategy but there is a requirement for each borough to identify how it will meet the apportionment targets contained within the London Plan
  • NLJWS: There is currently a requirement within ‘2-tier’ (ref. below) areas to produce a joint waste strategy. 
7. Plan/strategy in line with?
  • NLWP: The NLWP has been drawn up in conformity with national planning policy and the Mayor of London’s spatial strategy for the capital, the London Plan. The NLWP sets out how the north London boroughs will allocate sufficient land to manage the waste they have been allocated in the ‘borough level waste apportionments’ detailed in the London Plan
  • NLJWS: Required to be ‘in conformity’ with the Mayor’s municipal waste strategy for London e.g. the NLJWS includes recycling targets which are consistent with Mayoral ambitions.  
8. Technologies
  • NLWP: Waste treatment technologies are outside the scope of the Plan.
  • NLJWS: Reviews different treatment options for managing waste and concludes that the strategy should be ‘technology neutral’ , i.e. it doesn’t specify what mix of technologies will enable the targets to be achieved.
(Ref. from above: 'Two tier' areas are where boroughs or districts collect the rubbish and a waste disposal authority or county manages the waste collected. The alternative ‘single tier’ authority is a unitary authority which delivers both waste collection and management.)
Camden/NLWA slideshow!

Question 2:
Waste Processing, Waste Burning contracts (not the same thing)

Question: It is a little unclear how the bidders for the two NLWA contracts (two companies are shortlisted for processing, and three are short-listed for burning) would be told of the 'other' contract bidders' technical details, sufficient to inform their own bids. There are presumably six combinations (two times three). Maybe you could explain this, please?
 
Answer: Each contract, waste services and fuel use, will be between the successful contractor and the NLWA; there is no contract between the successful fuel use and successful waste services contractor. The waste services or fuel use contractors do not need to know any technical details about other contractors’ proposals at this stage.

The key issue for the fuel use contractor is to be assured that the waste services contractor will produce 'solid recovered fuel' (SRF) from residual waste (that which residents have not separated for recycling or composting) to an agreed specification and deliver the agreed quantities to a specified delivery point. The SRF will be created at treatment facilities located in north London [now where would that be?] and produced to a specification based on a European standard.

The fuel use contractor does not need to be told of the waste services contractor’s technical details, because as long as they receive the fuel they require, they are not concerned how it is made. By treating residual waste to create a dry, stable fuel, this can be used instead of fossil fuel, such as coal, or other forms of energy production. When derived from household waste, the fuel typically has an energy content that is the equivalent of low quality coal. 

Question 3:
The Solid Recovered Fuel (made at 700degC at Pinkham Wood?)

Question: As a subsidiary to this, please give a reference to the 'solid recovered fuel' (SRF) technical description, in your literature. Has this remained constant, from the first published OBC stage?

Answer: In relation to the SRF specification as outlined in the Outline Business available on our website, the quality of the SRF to be produced will be defined in an SRF specification (based on a European Standard) within both the Waste Services and Fuel Use contracts.

This specification will include the definition of the physical, chemical and energy content parameters that the fuel is to comply with. The 'Draft SRF specification' included in the 'Draft Waste Services Output specification' available on our website is the draft specification that was available at the start of the procurement process.

Any possible changes to that specification would be the subject of commercial discussions with bidders, and any possible changes would not be finalised until the contracts are signed. Accordingly it is not possible to provide any further update on the same.

Question 4:
What goes into Pinkham Way? (whose rubbish?)

Question: As asked previously, would Pinkham Way, for instance, be permitted to manage other, non-NLWA waste, if quantities declined 'too much' from the seven boroughs? (The current NLWA Hendon/Brent Cross site takes some waste from the 'West London Waste Authority' area, for instance.)

Answer: The proposal for a waste facility at Pinkham Way is primarily designed for borough collected ’municipal’ waste from Barnet, Enfield and Haringey. Any additional material accepted but not delivered from borough collection rounds in Barnet, Haringey and Enfield is likely to be incidental and it would be reasonable to assume that it would be likely to come from a similar catchment area.


Question 5:
What is the point of recycling more? (two steps forward, two steps back)

Question: In the light of a previous question, and the resultant Authority answer:
Q: Can the SRF specification be enhanced by recycling less of those materials with significant calorific value? 
A: The Authority is not in a position to commit to doing so. Potential fuel users could consider doing so, if they could source the relevant material and provide a suitable facility for blending the material.”
would the 'burning' contract allow the chosen company to mix third-party plastics and paper back into the mix, if recycling improved 'too much', over the life of the contract (thereby increasing the UK market generally for burning rather than recycling, perhaps counter to NLWA declared policy)?

Would the NLWA have total control of its material until it became ash and gas?

Answer: Under the contractual arrangements we intend to put in place, if the fuel use contractor wishes to increase the calorific value of the material going into their facility, they would not be able to ask the waste services contractor to divert municipal plastic and paper destined for recycling away from recycling into their energy recovery facility instead.

However, they would, if they so wished, and as previously advised, be able to source relevant material from elsewhere and blend it with north London material. Whilst the Authority would have no control over its own material after it has been blended with material from elsewhere, for the purposes of reporting it is only the material produced from north London’s waste which is reported for north London’s performance achievements.
Background: The NLJWS which has been approved by the Authority and the seven constituent boroughs sets a target to achieve a 50% recycling and composting rate by 2020 and includes an objective to maximise recycling and composting rates. The Strategy additionally employs the principle of the ‘waste hierarchy’ which suggests that reducing waste will normally be the best environmental option for waste management, and so therefore should be considered before reuse, recycling and composting, energy recovery and finally disposal to landfill.

There is therefore a preference, enshrined within the strategy document, to prioritise recycling over energy recovery. In addition, policy at the national level encourages regional and local planning bodies to deliver strategies that help drive waste management up the waste hierarchy addressing waste as a resource. The recent update to 'Planning Policy Statement 10' in March 2011, following revision to the EU Waste Framework Directive seeks to increase the use of waste as a resource, such as for fuel, with the changes designed to ensure that the waste hierarchy is capable of being a material consideration in determining individual applications. Accordingly, the planning authority is able to take the applicant’s consideration of the waste hierarchy into account when determining a planning application.

Question 6:
The 'Incinerator Fuel' Contract (out of sight, out of mind?)

Question: Regarding your contract for the burning of incinerator fuel, produced under the NLWA's proposed new arrangements, your attention is drawn to one particular industry process (the actual provider of this process is unimportant):
"A blending process takes out impurities, and takes out or leaves in/adds more plastic to meet the specific needs of combustion processes, such as co-firing in power station boilers, fluidised bed boilers, gasification, pyrolysis, and cement kilns." 
The question to you is therefore: Does your proposed NLWA contract prohibit 'blending' of the incinerator fuel that you provide, which might: 'add more plastic' or paper, or other material (from other sources) and as described in the example above?

If 'added plastic' were not to be banned under your contract, would the obvious lack of recycling of that plastic be reflected in recycling rates, reported to the public by the NLWA, regarding its waste streams?

In other words, might a situation arise where the NLWA was claiming higher and higher recycling rates, but where your contractor was merely adding OTHER plastic or paper back into the waste stream, after you have handed it over?

Answer: As outlined above, the Authority does not anticipate that blending of north London SRF with other material will be prohibited.This means that in relation to reporting, ‘recovery’ and ‘diversion from landfill’ information, these tonnages will be based upon north London material only.
Accordingly, the addition or blending of third party plastic or paper with north London SRF at a fuel use facility would not be taken into account in the reporting of north London statistics.


Question 7:
Who owns the waste? (well, clean it up then)

Question: To clarify, and add to, previous queries: at what stage does the NLWA cease to legally 'OWN' the domestic waste material (and therefore presumably have no leverage over its destiny)? 
  • when it becomes SRF? 
  • when it becomes ash and gas? 
  • when the ash is buried in Gloucestershire or put down a Cheshire salt mine (for instance), and the gas is merely an oxidised exhaust? 
And on the other waste streams: 
  • when it is compost?
  • when recyclables are shipped out of a NLWA plant?

Answer: Firstly there is distinction to be made between ‘ownership’ of the waste and ‘responsibility’ for ensuring that the waste is handled appropriately under the Duty of Care regulations, and the point at which the NLWA’s responsibility in each case ceases is different.

Ownership: Ownership of the waste throughout the waste services and fuel use contracts is assigned to whoever has responsibility for doing something with it at that time. Accordingly, the ownership of the waste passes from the collection authorities to the Authority and then on to the Waste Services Contractor as they receive it for processing. Once it is processed by the Waste Services Contractor and then delivered to the Fuel Use Contractor, ownership transfers from the Waste Services Contractor, via the Authority, to the Fuel Use Contractor.

Duty of Care: However, there is, as stated above, a 'Duty of Care' requirement. This ‘Duty of Care’ enshrines in law the requirement for all producers, carriers, importers, exporters, brokers, dealers and processors of ‘controlled waste’ (ref. below) manage that waste correctly, by storing it properly, only transferring to appropriate people and ensuring when it is transferred that it is sufficiently well described to enable its safe recovery or disposal without harming the environment. The Duty of Care has no time limit.

The Duty of Care requires waste ‘holders’ to:
  • store and transport their waste appropriately and securely 
  • check that their waste is transported and handled by people or businesses that are authorised to do so 
  • complete waste transfer notes to document all waste they transfer, and keep these transfer notes as a record for at least two years.
Background: Under the Duty of Care legislation the seven north London boroughs provide annual waste transfer notes to the NLWA for each type of waste collected that they pass on to the NLWA.

Under the Duty of Care legislation, the NLWA also has to complete transfer notes for the material it passes on to third parties.

Whilst the Duty of Care transfer note systems provides a document trail showing where waste has been passed on to another waste ‘holder’ it doesn’t absolve the waste producer or the previous waste holder from responsibility in relation to that waste, i.e. they continue to have a ‘duty of care’. Accordingly if waste from an industrial producer waste was passed on to an unlicensed waste carrier or was incorrectly described on a waste transfer note, the waste producer as well as the carrier could be liable for failing to comply with the Duty of Care.

Accordingly, the same applies to the waste authority in relation to waste it passes on to third parties. As a result the Authority has contracts monitoring staff in place to ensure that the waste it transfers on is managed in accordance with the Duty of Care.

Further information about the Duty of Care is available on the Environment Agency’s website at: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/topics/waste/40047.aspx
(Ref. from above: The term ‘controlled waste’ comes from Section 75(4) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and is defined as 'household, industrial and commercial waste or any such waste'. Each of these terms is then defined in Section 75(5) – (7) of the 1990 Act.
 
Schedules 1, 3 and 4 to the Controlled Waste Regulations (as amended by the 2007 Regulations and the Waste Management (England and Wales) Regulations 2006) list particular types of wastes which are to be treated as household, industrial or commercial waste. E.g. agricultural waste used not to be included within the definition of controlled waste but now is.)


Question 8:
When? (If? Why?)

Question: Is the procurement calendar on the web site unchanged, given that Pinkham Way consultation will not start until after approval of the NLWP by DEFRA?

Answer: Yes the procurement calendar is unchanged at present, so the calendar on the NLWA website is correct. Should any changes to the calendar be necessary, these will be made in due course. The formal consultation process on the Authority and the London Borough of Barnet’s planning application for a waste facility and vehicle depot at Pinkham Way, will not commence until after the report of the Independent Planning Inspector conducting the Examination in Public of the NLWP has been produced.



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