EA to review all 13 Quality protocols

Quality Protocols (QPs) are end of waste frameworks, recognised by the Environment Agency and used by industry on a voluntary basis to identify the point at which waste, having been fully recovered, may be regarded as a non-waste product. This means the waste derived material can be used in specified markets without the need for waste regulation controls. 

The EA is going to review all thirteen of the current QPs over the next 12 - 18 months. Factors to be considered in the initial review of each QP will include:
  •  Issues of clarity
  •  Evidence of the abuse of the Quality Protocol
  •  Evidence that the terms of the Quality Protocol are excessively onerous
  •  Evidence that the terms of the Quality Protocol do not demonstrate end of waste
  •  Evidence of unintended risk of pollution, or impacts on human health, or the environment
  •  Desire from industry to include additional waste inputs to the process or applications of the end product
  •  Development of new waste processing technologies
  •  Development of new end product markets
  •  Development of new product standards
  •  Changes in the law
  •  Potential impacts on other Quality Protocols.
  •  Any other relevant issues that become apparent during the review.

After an initial review, a decision will be made on whether or not the EA will continue to support each QP. One of the following outcomes will arise for each assessment made:

1. the EA supports the QP with its current wording or where only minor amendments are required. The QP would then be considered to be a Resources Framework and would be published on the GOV.UK website;

2. the EA no longer supports the QP but industry confirm they would wish for it to be revised and updated. This would involve a complete overhaul of the QP, paid for by industry, to bring it up to date so that it would meet the latest standards*; or

3. the EA no longer supports the QP and industry does not wish or is unwilling to meet the EA's costs for its revision. 'Any material produced and used in compliance with the affected QP would no longer be regarded by [the EA] as a non-waste product and the relevant waste regulation controls would apply.'

* The EA warns that in some cases where it 'agrees to undertake a revision it may not be feasible to update the QP for example, if the end of waste tests could not be met'.

The first three QPs to be reviewed will be compost, digestate and poultry litter ash and this process is due to commence in August. The review process for each QP will commence with a press release notice from the EA with an opportunity for interested parties to engage directly in the process.

If you wish to have input into any of the QP reviews please look out for communications about the QP you are interested in (see Annex for current timings). You can contact the review team by e-mailing  The REA will keep members informed about EA communications regarding the QPs for composts and digestates.

For any enquiries please contact jeremy at the REA. The EA's full briefing note can be seen HERE.

Published: 13/08/2019
AfOR Homepage
Jun 17
Text size + X -
Members' Area
forgot password
Become a Member!
Join the Organics Recycling Group at the Renewable Energy Association by clicking below.

Where are you based?
How far from you should I search?
What type of member do you need?