The England and Wales Court of Appeal compels the Environment Agency to issue a standard rules environmental permit for the recovery of waste

Tarmac Aggregates Ltd, R (on the application of) v The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs & Anor [2015] EWCA Civ 1149 (17 November 2015)

This case is concerned with a standard rules environmental permit that is required in relation to operations involving use of waste which constitute the recovery of the waste as described in Article 3(15) of Directive 2008/98/EC (the Waste Framework Directive).

The appellant Tarmac has quarried aggregates materials at the Quarry for a number of years and in 2006 applied for planning permission for an extension of its sand and gravel extraction operation there. The local planning authority emphasised that the Quarry site was well placed for accessibility for the general public and that Tarmac should come up with imaginative proposals to give something back to the local community by providing an area of environmental interest. Tarmac’s developed restoration proposals met this requirement and planning permission was granted subject to the condition that the Quarry site should be restored in accordance with the approved proposals. Subsequently Tarmac applied to the Environment Agency (”the EA”) for a standard rules environmental permit which would allow it to use inert waste as the backfill material. It is obvious for the court that substantial quantities of material would need to be used to construct the planned lakes, reed-beds, shallow water areas and land bridge according to the proposals, and that if waste material is not used for this then primary materials would have to be used. Thus it is clear that use of waste material for the function in question will indeed involve replacing other materials which would otherwise have been used to fulfil that function, in accordance with the definition of ”recovery” in Article 3(15) of the Directive.

The conclusion is that the EA should issue a standard rules environmental permit for the use of relevant waste for the backfill operation in this case.

The full text is available on EuroCases

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