Recovery of waste materials to agriculture is an important source of nutrients and soil improvers, reducing costs to industry and farmers while improving resource efficiency. While there are benefits, there are also risks that need to be assessed and managed. Regulators and operators must consider the types of waste that are appropriate to be recovered, the agricultural and horticultural benefits, and the site-specific risks associated with individual applications. To do this, they must have a good understanding of the physical, biological and chemical hazards presented by waste materials and an objective and open method to assess the potential risks to soils, crops and livestock, the wider environment and human health via the food chain.
The aim of this project was to develop a Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) to provide an overview of the volume and types of evidence and knowledge available to identify the hazards from the landspreading of specific waste streams and to demonstrate its applicability through the use of examples. It is supported by a framework of more detailed or secondary questions that provide structure to the evidence review and build-up the information that surrounds the main question. The report describes how to develop a search strategy to identify relevant evidence sources for waste streams and hazards; extract and evaluate evidence; and report the findings.