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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/packaging-producer-responsibility-monitoring-2020/packaging-producer-responsibility-monitoring-plan-2020
The Environment Agency monitors businesses to ensure that:
- packaging producers in England contribute to EU Packaging Directive recovery and recycling targets
- all obligated producers register
- producer compliance schemes fulfil their statutory duties on behalf of producer members
- they provide accurate data on the packaging that’s handled, recovered and recycled in the UK
- there’s accurate data on registered producers
- treatment, recovery and export operators comply with accreditation conditions
- waste packaging is recycled and recovered to directive standards
- waste packaging is not directed through illegal routes
Our compliance activities include:
- desk based assessments and reviews
- validation checks on data submissions
- data trend analysis, looking for fraudulent behaviour, errors and anomalies
- site inspections
Packaging charge income funds the majority of our compliance work with:
- producer compliance schemes
- accredited reprocessors
- accredited exporters
We allocate this funding, together with charges income from other producer responsibility regimes, to our national team for producer responsibility.
In March 2019, we restructured how we work to achieve producer responsibility requirements. We moved to a single nationally managed delivery approach. This left us with some vacancies but we’ve now recruited 14 new officers. They start in February 2020. These officers will need to complete a training programme before they’re able to monitor operators. Therefore, this resource will not be available immediately for site audits.
The packaging charge income does not fund our:
- inspections of green list waste exports
- compliance with the Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations
- investigations into packaging producers who are not registered (known as ‘freeriders’)
We pay for these activities with government funding.
The Environment Agency will continue to identify packaging producers who are not registered (freeriders). We will investigate any freeriders reported to us. We will use a risk based approach focussing on those operators who have the largest impact on the environment. We will use a variety of ways to bring the non-compliant into compliance.
We also fund a specialist waste regimes Investigations Team to support our officers with their investigations and to lead on serious and significant cases.
Where necessary we will use our enforcement powers and tools in line with the Environment Agency’s enforcement and sanctions policy.
2. Assessing, monitoring and validating submissions
- quarterly data returns
The Environment Agency carries out a number of monitoring activities when processing registrations from both:
- direct registrants
- producers who are members of schemes
We monitor the submitted information and data from all (close to 7,000) registered producers, including comparing data submissions with those from previous years.
In April each year, after the registration deadline, we identify producers who have not re-registered. We contact them to:
- find out why they have not re-registered
- bring them back into compliance if necessary
In some cases we work with compliance schemes to achieve this. However, where producers do not register or indicate their status to us, we will investigate them as freeriders.
At the application stage for accreditation, we assess the full application as well as the submitted sampling and inspection plans. We need to make sure they are robust and reliable. After we’ve granted accreditation, we will monitor sampling and inspection plans during site inspections and desk based studies. We’ll also check other supporting documentation and activities.
We will send accredited reprocessors and exporters a suspension notice if they do not submit a quarterly data return. We may follow up with performance improvement requirements or take enforcement action if necessary. We may also suspend or cancel an accreditation if any other conditions of the accreditation are not complied with.
3. Monitoring schemes, direct registrants and accredited operators
Approved producer compliance schemes must register their scheme each year. We carry out a detailed compliance assessment of each registration.
We carry out quarterly monitoring of producer compliance schemes to check progress towards meeting their members’ obligations - for example checking procurement patterns for:
- packaging recovery notes (PRNs)
- packaging export recovery notes (PERNs)
We do this to manage the risk that the UK may not meet the national and EU targets. We monitor more frequently towards the end of the compliance year. If needed, we will highlight any issues we have with the scheme through telephone or email discussions.
Towards the end of the compliance period we monitor whether producers directly registered with us have met their obligations. We will contact producers if there’s an issue. We send reminders and will also check that obligated parties are:
- acquiring PRNs or PERNs
- accepting PRNs
- submitting certificates of compliance
We contact producers where we see a risk of non-compliance, for example if they have not acquired any PRNs.
4. Compliance monitoring
Using a risk-based approach we carry out compliance monitoring of:
- packaging producers
- compliance schemes
- accredited reprocessors
- accredited exporters
For the 2020 calendar year we are planning to carry out 10 site inspections of approved compliance schemes. This is in addition to our ongoing desk based compliance assessments of all schemes.
We are planning to carry out a minimum of 110 site inspections of accredited operators, visiting all operators identified as high risk (red and amber categorised sites). These site inspections will be directed by our risk profiling assessments. We may visit more sites if we consider necessary. We will decide based on operator risk.
We may carry out more than one site inspection on some operators if our intelligence, or our assessment of the risks, tells us this is needed. Site inspections may be a pre-arranged visit or unannounced. Some sites may receive both types.
5. Summary of compliance planned activities
- review and validate all direct registration applications so that national publications contain accurate data
- investigate all reported freeriders to increase producer registrations - this is to reduce non-compliance and ensure there’s a level playing field for all producers
- contact all producers who fail to re-register (drop offs) to confirm that they are no longer a producer, or to bring them back into compliance
- carry out 83 producer site visits according to the risk we assess in relation to scale, complexity, late registration and data assessment – our aim is to validate data submissions or request that data is re-submitted
- contact all direct registrant companies at risk of failing to comply - to make sure they meet their recovery and recycling obligations and submit their certificate of compliance
Producer compliance schemes
We will make basic checks on all registration data sets so national publications contain accurate data.
To identify and resolve potential non-compliances we will use desk based monitoring to:
- compliance assess all scheme registrations
- carry out quarterly monitoring of all producer compliance schemes and discuss their compliance position
- assess all ad hoc Environment Agency template submissions (approximately 200)
- assess the Statement of Compliance for all producer compliance schemes
We will complete 10 site inspections to check conditions of approval have been complied with and to identify and address any failures.
- determine all applications (and sampling and inspection plans) within the 12 week statutory period and only accredit those which fully satisfy the regulatory requirements
- carry out desk based assessments of all quarterly data returns and address any anomalies identified
- carry out a minimum of 110 site inspections, visiting all red and amber sites (based on our risk profile) to check compliance with conditions of accreditation, and use improvement plans, enforcement, or both, to address any failures
We reserve the right to refocus our efforts and priorities dependant on emerging threats throughout a year.