Application for review on end-of-waste status dismissed

5th October 2018

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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 the Environment Agency‘s decision to regard base oils generated from re-refined waste lubricating oil as ‘waste’. Protreat dealt with companies that refined and reprocessed waste lubricating oil, providing a consultancy service.

Refining and reprocessing could mean the end-product had end-of-waste status, in which case it would not be regarded as waste and would 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 says: “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 said that articles in it 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 is to protect the environment and human health by preventing or reducing the adverse impacts of waste generation and management, 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 do it is down to each member state.

The application for judicial review was dismissed.


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