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The Importance of Duty of Care Notes.

The observations drawn up below on the subject of “Duty of Care Notes”, describe the purpose and necessity for this particular form of documentation in accordance with ”The Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Regulations 1991.

Duty of Care Notes, otherwise referred to as Waste Transfer Notes, are a specific and legal requirement under Section 34(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, which imposes a duty of care upon anyone who has any influence or knowledge regarding the import, production, transportation, storage, treatment, or disposal of controlled waste. This duty dictates that any such aforementioned person is legally bound to ensure that no unauthorised or harmful tipping, treatment, or disposal of controlled waste occurs. Furthermore, they are legally bound to ensure that the waste remains within their, and/or their nominated contractors control at all times, and that an accurate Waste Transfer Note is made put and that it accompanies the waste up until, and including, the final handover of the waste at its terminal destination to a duly authorised recipient.

Under Section 34(5) of the 1990 Act, restrictions are made on whosoever has the duty of care for the transfer of the waste, to ensure that the Waste Transfer Note is copied and retained for a period of up to two years following the date of the actual transfer. Failure to observe the duty of care is considered to be a criminal offence.

Regulation 2 states that both the transferor and the transferee are bound by law to complete and sign a copy of the Waste Transfer Note at the time of the transfer. The Transfer Note must describe the waste accurately, stating the quantity, its storage method, the time date and place of transfer, the name and addresses of the transferor and the transferee, and whether the transferor is the producer or importer of the waste.

Regulation 3 deals with the retaining of the Waste Transfer Notes for 2 years, whilst Regulation 4 stipulates that a copy of the note must be surrendered to the Waste Regulation Authority as and when requested.

Any breach of the Duty of Care rules and regulations is considered a criminal offence and carries a fine of up to £5000 on initial conviction and an unlimited fine on a guilty verdict.

The Duty of Care of controlled waste is a top priority with DEFRA and is currently undergoing a review with a new issue anticipated in the next few months. It is expected that the guidelines and rules will be tightened further to offer maximum protection to both members of the general public and the environment.

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