Select Committee on European Communities Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by the Environment Agency



  1. Aims—The Russian Federation has plenty of environmental legislation; it lacks practical regulation. The main aim of this project will be to explain UK policy on industrial waste management, its development and how it is implemented in practice, to assist the Russians in setting up their own regulatory systems. Technical issues will only be covered to demonstrate problem solving etc. The technology transfer will be achieved through workshops which, whilst presentation-led, will be participatory rather than wholly presentational. In the UK, the emphasis will be on workshops leading from the Moscow workshops into site visits illustrating practicalities, meetings with Agency stakeholders, and meeting Agency staff who can explain further the key issues and how we deliver in practice.

  Key issues will be:

How we work;

How we relate to industry;

How we are financed; and

How we plan our business to achieve our objectives within budgetary constraints.

  A detailed proposed programme is attached; details may vary.

  2. Timing and places—Two days of workshops in Moscow, 18-19 June 1998, followed by five days of workshops, meetings with Agency stakeholders and site visits in UK, 22 to 26 June 1998. The UK part will centre on NE region (based at Leeds), which provides a far better selection of industrial and mineral industry problems than areas around Bristol or London.

  3. Scope—CPPI (Centre for Preparation of Implementation of International Projects on Technical Assistance) are responsible for project implementation, reporting to SCEP (State Committee for Environmental Protection). The project is only concerned with implementing regulation of industrial wastes. There are some key differences with UK (and European) approaches, as, for example, the Russians are interested in control of residues from mining and quarrying, whilst these are not controlled by the existing UK (or EU) directive waste management system(s). (See also background note below).

  4. Audience—Senior managers (equivalent to Agency grade 7s, EMI and 2,: Civil Service Grades 7/6, 5 and 3) who are a mix of technical and administrators (some both).

  In Moscow, there will be 20-25, of whom half will be from CPPI, and the rest from SCEP (State Committee for Environmental Protection). Translation will be provided.

  Ten of these people will travel to the UK, including three technical people fluent in English and one professional interpreter. It will be possible to split the group into two for different site visits, 1:1 discussions, etc.

  5. Terminology—This will be important, to key the audience in. Do not expect commonly used UK/European terms to relate to the same concepts; e.g., Russia has 16 different terms for disposal sites, many euphemistic, such as "polygon". We should ensure in presentations and workshops that we have defined key concepts, rather than use terms commonly used in the UK such as "landfill". Good sources would be Waste Management Paper glossaries, and the ISWA publications.

  6. Sustainability and cost-benefit—There will be little data available on Russian costs and quantities; there are limited funds, and expensive "high tech" solutions will not be easy to resource in the near future. The CPPI and SCEP will be interested in our experiences of:

    —  Assessment of waste arisings.

    —  Cost analysis and implementation of BATNEEC—(from PIR).

    —  Risk assessment of options and sites (Cross-functional).

    —  Assessment of BPEO—PIR and Waste.

    —  Use of various options; our experience of landfill, landspreading, cement kilns, etc.

    —  Regulatory activities; how we go about them.

    —  Our interface with waste management facility operators, industry and other Agency stakeholders.

   We will also look at sustainability, waste strategies of waste minimisation, reduction, reuse and recycling.

Paul Tempany

Waste Regulation Policy Group

28 April 1998


  This project is a small part of the EMP (Environmental Management Project), which is an overall framework programme of environmental technical assistance developed by SCEP and the World Bank. SCEP has assigned project management to CPPI.

  The EMP comprises five main components of which hazardous (industrial) waste management is one. It has two core sub-components; development of a National Industrial Waste Data Management System, and; development and demonstration of a regulatory management system for hazardous (industrial) waste control at the regional level. For each sub-component an international consultancy has been appointed to work alongside CPPI: ERM (Environmental Resources Management) of the UK is undertaking both of these sub-components.

  The demonstration region is Sverdlovsk Oblast in the Ural Mountains, which is at least the size of England and Wales. It is the heart of a large ferrous and non-ferrous metals industry. Mining and the associated wastes from mining and smelting date from the 18th century and covers vast areas.

  The main consequence of the planned central economy concept on industrial waste management (IWM) was that all wastes were considered recyclable. This may have been possible, but was rarely practised; the Soviet Union never fully accepted that the feasibility of waste recycling should be determined by its process costs and marketability of recycled materials. Accordingly, waste as a concept was not recognised until the Russian Federation was formed, and the market economy accepted.

  However, some of the Soviet concepts are still practised, leading to enormous quantities of industrial wastes "stockpiled" on unprepared land, officially awaiting recycling. In the Unspecified future. The practice of accumulating waste is differently defined from disposal by burial, although the function may in effect be the same.

  By comparison with Western Europe and North America, three main points emerge:

    —  the "official" extent of the uncontrolled hazardous/industrial waste disposal legacy in the RF is much less than in the West. In practice, the situation is probably worse, the difference being most sites are not disposal sites, but storage areas awaiting recycling;

    —  the absence of "wastes" in the past effectively delayed any focus on the engineering of disposal sites to protect the environment (which started in the 1970's in the West);

    —  Legislation is in place. However, there has been little effective implementation or enforcement.

  It is also important to note that industrial waste waters are included under the definition of industrial waste; about seven billion tonnes of waste waters per annum in the RF. These waters are allowed to be disposed of on land without treatment. IWs are defined as waste generated in mining, manufacturing, processing, and service industry sectors. As these wastes have differing characteristics, problems emerge if one IWM concept is considered as the solution.

  Overall, there are differences due to cultural background and history. For example, after industry being subject to central control with minimal environmental protection enforcement, there is now wide public and regulatory distrust of industry and its ability to change or comply with legislation; the UK's views on self-regulation may therefore be at odds with the Russian experience.

  Another major difference is in the concept of "environmental fees". The legislation which is implemented focused on fee collection: any disposal of industrial waste off-site incurs a set fee, which is split between the facility and an environmental fund. The latter is used to support environmental investment projects. However, some of the "storage" of wastes may be to avoid paying these fees.

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