T8 Exemptions have long been a thorn in the side of genuine tyre recyclers in the UK, now DME’s Ken Plaster speaks out why change is needed
“As a long-serving collector and processor of a fully permitted waste tyre site, our perspective on the impending changes to T8 exempt sites is rooted in a commitment to environmental responsibility, fair competition, and the long-term sustainability of the UK waste tyre industry. These changes, we believe, are not only necessary but imperative to uphold the integrity of our sector,” explains Plaster.
“First and foremost, it is crucial to emphasise that we fully support the stringent regulations imposed by the Environment Agency (EA) and other relevant authorities. These regulations are in place for good reason: to safeguard our environment and the health of our communities. Operating within the bounds of the law, our processing centre has consistently adhered to these regulations, ensuring that waste tyres are processed responsibly and without harm to our surrounding areas for over thirty years or so.”
This adherence to the regulations and environmental permits is what sets the likes of DME aside from the T8 exempt operators who often breach the rules: Almost every case of tyre related environmental concern has been down to illegally operated T8 sites.
Plaster continues; “However, the presence of T8 exempt sites operating outside their designated perimeters raises significant concerns. These sites, by virtue of their exemption, are allowed to store and process waste tyres without a full environmental permit. Yet some of them have veered from their intended purpose, engaging in activities that not only disregard environmental standards but also create an unfair advantage in the industry.
“The proposed changes to T8 exempt sites represent a vital step towards rectifying this situation. They aim to increase scrutiny and regulation of these sites, holding them to the same high standards that fully permitted centres like ours are already obliged to meet. This is not a call for unnecessary bureaucracy but merely a plea for fairness.”
This level playing field has long been a request from permitted tyre recyclers who have to pay higher licence fees and meet increasingly stringent environmental standards. Tyre and Rubber Recycling has never heard a genuine recycler complain about having to meet environmental and planning requirements, but almost all we have spoken to have had issues with T8 exempt operators undermining their business by operating illegally.
“One of the most pressing issues is the potential harm to the environment caused by non- compliant T8 sites,” says Plaster. “Irresponsible waste tyre disposal practices, such as fly-tipping and excessive stockpiling, and excessive weekly export totals can have devastating consequences. By enforcing these changes, the government demonstrates a commitment to protecting our environment from these risks.
“Furthermore, these changes can help to level the playing field for all the current regulated businesses that have invested significant resources in compliance and responsible operations. Ensuring that all industry participants adhere to the same stringent regulations fosters healthy competition and allows businesses to compete based on innovation and service quality rather than regulatory shortcuts.
“In conclusion, our perspective on the impending T8 exempt site changes is clear, it’s a necessary and overdue move to ensure that the entire waste tyre industry operates responsibly, adheres to the environmental regulatory standards, and competes fairly. The government’s efforts to uphold the law and protect our environment are commendable, it is a collective responsibility to maintain the integrity of our industry and safeguard our environment for future generations,” emphasises Plaster.