This section compares the NPPF practitioners draft on waste with PPS10 (2005)
It should be said though that the latest leaked draft contains no section on waste at all just saying ‘The Framework does not contain specific waste policies, since national waste planning policy forms part of the National Waste Management Plan for England. However, local authorities preparing waste plans should have regard to policies in this Framework.’
This is a dangerous precedent as it completely delegates a section of planning policy to another government department; so why not do this for renewable energy, business, transport, heritage etc.
The current National Waste Strategy, this came out in 2007 – Waste Strategy for England, an integrated approach being required under the EU Framework Directive on Waste. So clearly PPS10 is out of date. The 2007 strategy though simply cross-refers back to PPS10.
The problem is further complicated by the new major infrastructure regime which requires national policy statements for some types of major waste installations.
DEFRA published a review of National Waste Policy in June 2011.
This however is a review of changes to policy not a replacement of the 2007 strategy. There is reference to a National Waste Management Plan.
The ‘Action Plan’ for this states The revised Waste Framework Directive requires each Member State to have one or more waste management plans in place. These must comply with the requirements set out in Article 28 of the Directive. Defra will be taking forward work to produce a National Waste Management Plan for England which will replace WS2007 as the “national waste management plan” for these purposes.’
The target in the action plan is Spring 2012. It is essential then that this is in place before the NPPF is finlised otherwise there will be a policy gap, or alternatively PPS10 should be ‘saved’ until the national waste action plan is ready.
The EU directive requires waste management plans (and there may be more than one) to have ‘sufficient information on the location criteria for site identification and on the capacity of future disposal or major recovery installations, if necessary;& general waste management policies, including planned waste management technologies and methods, or policies for waste posing specific management problems.’
It is much easier than if waste management plans, at national and local level, are comprehensive on waste matters, in order to demonstrate the compliance with the directive.
This begs a question should waste DPDs be integrated into local waste management plans? Well yes, and this will require primary legislation. Also as the SEA of the management plans will depend on the sites chosen the choose technology then choose site approach could easily be subject to challenge. It is very likely in the future the two processes will need to be integrated i.e. make preliminary assessment of technology, assess sites, make final choice of sites and technology in light of SEA. This will be further complicated by the need to tender, and various tenderers bringing forward their own sites.
Referring specifically to changes to waste planning in the new regime one matter that is not clear is that of timescale and interegional apportionment. PPS10 currently requires a 15-20 year time horizon for targets and interegional apportionments, and 10 years for local provision.
There is nothing in the NPPF about what time-scale waste should be planned for and how interregional waste transfer issues will be resolved. These currently occur over some distances (e.g. landfill from London to Bedfordshire). The government will need to intervene in cases where disputes cannot be resolved as a failure to arrive at a plan would be a breach of the EU framework directive on waste. What is more the RSS targets and apportionments are currently part of the national waste plan as required by the EU directive. The abolition of RSS would lead to the dropping of a critical part of the national waste plan, not due to be replaced until Spring of 2012 if at all (it is not clear if the National Waste Management Plan for England will deal with interegional targets and appoortionnments and whether this will be subject to an SEA), and this would be a clear breach of article 28 of directive 2008/98/EC. Therefore RSS cannot be abolished without replacement as this would be contrary to european law on waste management.
The practitioners draft mentions the waste hierarchy and proximity principle (though the proximity principle was curiously omitted from PPS10 as it would form part of the National Waste Strategy).
The key point about the roles of planning are twofold. Firstly to require land to be made available, this will require integration of waste plans and other DPDs, secondly the broad principles on which applications are to be decided.
On the first point the NPPF rightly requires LPAs to ‘identify sufficient opportunities to meet the identified needs of their area for waste management for all waste streams over the plan period’ This should go on to add ‘ensuring land is safeguarded for this purpose from other land uses. The planning for waste and other land uses need to take place in an integrated manner’. The risk is that if the government declares open season on land for industry to go over to housing there will no longer be any sites for waste, and this again would be a breach of the EU directive.
As worded the phrasing to ‘identify the type or types of waste management facility that would be appropriate for defined sites and areas.’ needs to be redrafted to fit with the broad technology neutral approach of the national waste strategy and its update.
The site identification criteria are pretty much the same as PPS10 but as across the board removes the preference for previously developed land.
Three critical sections on application determination need to be carried over. Firstly from para 22 of PPS10 that applications on sites in line with an up to date development plan don’t need to demonstrate market need. Secondly from para 31 the need to avoid local health and epidemiological studies. And finally para 26.
In considering planning applications for waste management facilities, waste planning authorities should concern themselves with implementing the planning strategy in the development plan and not with the control of processes which are a matter for the pollution control authorities.