Environment Agency have no obligation to issue end-of-waste guidance
Published: 05 Sep 2018

The case of R. (on the application of Protreat Ltd) v Environment Agency, an application for judicial review, has been refused.

Protreat, the claimant, sought judicial review of a decision of the Environment Agency to regard base oils generated from re-refined waste lubricating oil as "waste".

As a member of the Oil Recycling Association Limited, Protreat dealt with companies that re-fined and re-processed waste lubricating oil, providing a consultancy service.

Both re-fining and re-processing could mean the end-product had end-of-waste status, then it would no longer be regarded as waste and did not have to meet waste regulations.

A criteria for "end-of-waste" status can be found in Directive 2008/98/EC on waste, but that Directive states "Member States may decide case by case whether certain waste has ceased to be waste taking into account the applicable case law".

The key discussion was whether the Environment Agency had an obligation to provide binding guidance upon the issue of when waste lubricating oil has achieved end-of-waste status following re-refining or reprocessing.

Commenting on Directive 2008/98/EC, Sir Wyn Williams stated articles in that Directive did "not support the contention that the Directive imposes upon Member States a specific obligation to provide end-of-waste guidance whether in relation to the products of re-refining or the products of any other process of conversion of waste".

The main aim of Directive 2008/98/EC was to protect the environment and human health by preventing or reducing the adverse impacts of the generation and management of waste and by reducing overall impacts of resource use and improving the efficiency of such use. Member States must aim to achieve that, but the way in which they did it was down to each Member State.

The application for judicial review was dismissed.

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