A joint Government and Industry Task Force established towards the end of 2004 has now reached agreement on the best way to resolve problems concerned with mobile plant licensing.
The Task Force was ask to deal with three main problems:-
1. Multiple licenses operated across multiple sites 2. Inconsistency in enforcement and no single point of contact for operators. 3. Speed of applications and poor clarity of information requirements.
Under the new system a single license (to be called a Mobile Treatment Licence) will be issued for a given remediation technology. The license will be able to be utilised across multiple sites. A new ‘Deployment Form’ will be adopted which will identify all key data including the applicants account manager, any site specific information and a guide as to what other permits may possibly be required.
A system of EA Account Managers will be established providing improved accountability, better communication and a single point of contact for industry –
The new system is expected to have a number of beneficial effects – not least of which will be a significant reduction in the regulatory burden placed on operators – and hopefully a reduction in the cost when plant is not in use.
It is also hoped that the reduced cost and more efficient bureaucracy will encourage the development of new technologies and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
Application forms and guidance for the new MTL will be available from October. Existing holders of MPL should have been contacted by the EA in early June and will be sent a further letter in due course to explain what they have to do to obtain the new licence. There will be a 6 month transition period and existing licences will be valid until April 2006.
Finally, changes to the Waste Regulations which came into effect on 1 July have broadened the definition of mobile plant. Previously this only covered soil, but now covers the treatment of contaminated materials, substances and products (e.g. the treatment of groundwater).
For information on who to contact regarding licences call the EA National Customer Contact Centre on 0870 8506506 – or local EA offices (although they will not have information until nearer October.)