Judicial review application on kerosene waste refused

29th January 2021

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Artur Kidacki

In Safety-Kleen UK Ltd v Environment Agency, the claimant applied for judicial review of an Agency decision regarding the point at which used kerosene became ‘waste’ under Directive 2008/98/EC.

Safety-Kleen provided engine cleaning services, using kerosene as a solvent. It collected used kerosene from customers’ drums and replaced it with clean kerosene. The drums were taken to a depot, emptied into a reservoir and rinsed out with used kerosene from the reservoir, to which the re-used kerosene was returned.

From there the kerosene was pumped into ‘dirty’ tanks, cleaned, and placed into clean drums for customers. It was held that within the Directive, kerosene was ‘waste’ when it reached the ‘dirty’ tanks and remained so until it was cleaned.

The Agency decided that kerosene became waste when collected from customers, making it ‘hazardous’ under the Directive. It said the kerosene was removed from customers’ premises because it had become redundant, and its use to rinse out drums was different from its original purpose. Safety-Kleen said the Agency misunderstood the process because the used kerosene had the further purpose of rinsing the drums.

It was concluded that using the used kerosene to rinse out the drums was beneficial but not the same as customers’ use of it, and was not part of a continuous beneficial use by the customer. It was also concluded that the Agency’s judgment should be given considerable weight. The application for review was refused.

Image credit: Shutterstock


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