The Environment Agency has published the results of a consultation on TCM attendance changes. The Environment Agency consulted with stakeholders to hear their views on proposed options and changes to the attendance requirements for technically competent managers (TCMs).
The consultation explained:
- how the current technical competence attendance requirements work
- options for proposed changes to the methods of calculating TCM attendance and other proposed changes to the attendance requirements
- proposed implementation timescales
The responses to the TCM attendance changes consultation will help shape a second, more detailed consultation. This will provide further details for option 1: attendance linked to charge bands, and other rules associated with the attendance requirements for technically competent managers. The EA aim to publish the next consultation in summer 2023.
The EA received a broad range of views which will help develop guidance on the attendance requirements for technically competent managers. The EA received 75 responses to the consultation:
- 32 from site operators and companies with permits
- 18 from trade associations and other organisations and groups
- 12 from consultants
- 5 from local authorities
- 8 from individuals and members of the public
Those responding generally agreed that new guidance was needed to explain the attendance requirements for TCMs and provided views on the 3 options preferred for calculating the attendance requirements:
- option 1: attendance linked to charge bands – 36%
- option 2: standard baseline attendance for all waste facilities – 16%
- option 3: tailored baseline attendance for waste operations and waste installations – 30.67%
- no preference – 14.67%
- Two respondents (2.67%) did not provide an answer to this question.
Many of those responding highlighted the potential for environmental benefits should TCM attendance increase at poor performing sites. However, the extent of this benefit would depend on the specific circumstances. Approximately 75% of those responding supported the adjustment of the attendance requirement based on operator performance, with those in deteriorating or poor compliance bands requiring increased TCM attendance.
Some of those responding stated that applying attendance requirements for the Environmental Services Association (ESA)/Energy & Utility (EU) Skills technical competence scheme would undermine the purpose of this scheme, but there was general support for other proposals on the 48 hour attendance cap, 24 hour operations, multiple regulated facilities and mothballed sites.
For permit transfers, some respondents highlighted situations where transfers were ‘administrative’ and in those instances they did not support previously agreed TCM attendance requirements reverting back to those required by the guidance.
For closed landfills nearly 40% of respondents agreed with the proposals, whilst 50% did not have a view. The Environment Agency concluded that it anticipate the majority of the 50% who did not have a view do not operate activities involving closed landfills.
Most of those who responded did not have a view on the proposals for mobile plant attendance requirements. Around one third supported the proposals on mobile plant and less than 10% disagreed.
Nearly half of respondents supported a 12 month implementation period for the new guidance. Because, for example, this would give operators time to understand the new guidance and train or recruit additional TCMs if required.
The Agency received a broad range of views which will help develop the attendance requirements for TCMs guidance and it intends to launch the next consultation in summer 2023. It will include further details of the favoured option and other proposed changes to the attendance requirements.
Operators who apply for an environmental permit for a waste operation must be members of (and comply with) a government approved technical competency scheme. Most existing waste environmental permit holders must also comply with a government approved technical competency scheme through the conditions in their permits.
For operators that show competence through the scheme run by the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management and Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board, the Environment Agency requires that sites have nominated technically competent manager(s) on site for a specified amount of time each week – this is called the attendance requirement.
The Environment Agency used to calculate attendance requirements using the OPRA risk appraisal guidance. However, except for the sections relating to attendance levels for technically competent managers, this guidance has been withdrawn.
The Agency is now considering changes to the requirements for attendance by TCMs at environmental permit sites. If you require environmental advice or support for your business, please contact one of the Ashbrooke team.