The Environment Agency (EA) has published a consultation on the replacement of its’ current Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) 211.
This consultation seeks industry feedback on two new proposed RPSs, which will cover the production, movement, storage, and use of unassessed arisings from street works carried out by/on behalf of utilities companies who are members of Street Works UK.
Street Works UK has been working closely with the EA on the evaluation of its Regulatory Position Statement (RPS 211) which allows waste generated by utilities companies under certain circumstances to be classified as non-hazardous waste without being tested and accepted at permitted facilities.
This RPS was scheduled for withdrawal on the 30th of April 2023, but due to ongoing industry, has not yet been withdrawn. This enables operators to continue using it while we work to consider options for future control of this waste stream. RPS 211 will eventually look to be withdrawn when the new RPSs described below are officially published.
For context, RPS 211 was originally published to provide time for Street Works UK (SWUK) to commission a study into the development of a Risk Assessment (RA) methodology that could be used in place of testing due to the challenges of storing waste on/beside the roadway while awaiting test results. The EA has recently confirmed that it is providing more time to allow SWUK to fully develop their proposal, however, does not consider that RPS 211 is fit for purpose moving forwards, so the EA has confirmed intentions for it to be withdrawn and replaced.
The work undertaken so far by SWUK members to identify the hazards in this waste stream shows that approximately 15-18% of these waste arisings meet the threshold to be classified as hazardous waste. The most prevalent hazardous components found so far are coal tar and hydrocarbons.
As such, the EA is proposing two new Regulatory Position Statements (RPSs) to replace RPS 211 while SWUK continues to develop a Risk Assessment methodology. If successful, this methodology will be used in place of the normal sampling and testing which these wastes require under the Technical Guidance on the Classification of Waste (WM3).
The proposed RPSs will cover the production, movement, storage, and use of unassessed arisings from street works carried out by/on behalf of utilities companies who are members of SWUK.
Timescales and next steps
The deadline for submissions is Monday 20th November.
Once the EA receives the feedback from this consultation, RPS 211 will look to be withdrawn and superseded by the new RPSs.
The proposed RPSs will expire within 15 months of the date of publication. The exact dates they are in place will depend on the final timelines agreed with SWUK regarding the development and rollout of their Risk Assessment (RA), the expiry date will be published on each RPS.
7 months before the RPSs expire, SWUK will submit the results of their ongoing study to the EA they will decide, within 1 month, whether it can be used in place of full Waste Classification. This will allow approximately 6 months for industry to adapt to the outcome of our review of the RA.
You can access the full consultation and supporting documents here: