ERJ staff report (PR)
Registered exemptions for waste tire sites have reached record levels in England and Wales, according to the Tyre Recovery Association (TRA), which is warning of the dangers posed by weak supervision of these operations.
"The UK government’s current exemptions policy requires more serious scrutiny," said a 24 March statement from the TRA, which wants a moratorium on the issuing of any further new exemptions until this review has been carried out.
”Exemptions are easy and cheap to register but may pose a looming threat to the environment where they are unpoliced,” added the Essex-based tire industry group.
Figures from the UK's Environment Agency (EA) show that, in England and Wales alone, 1,622 sites were registered for the treatment of tires, and 3912 sites registered for the storage of baled tires, as of December 2013.
In the case of baled tires, the maximum permitted holding is 50 tonnes - approximately 5000 car tires, estimates the TRA, which has previously voiced its misgivings about government policy on exemptions.
Were all such sites to be stocked to the maximum permitted this would equate to some 195,000 tonnes of tires, said the TRA. This, it added, would equate to 40% of total UK national arisings being at exempt sites, which are subject to relatively few regulatory checks.
The association, last year, wrote to Defra to challenge government assertions that exemptions were ‘low risk’ - arguing that almost all high-profile EA enforcement actions related to exempted sites.
Such operations, it said, were "neither small scale or without risk and the intentions of such operators were not focused on legitimate recovery."
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