Deemed Competence (FAQs)

Section 1: Permitting Regulations as they apply to technical competence

How does this change affect me with EPR07 in force from 6 April 2008?

The new regulations on Technical Competence are only effective in England and Wales. If you already hold a CoTC or are classed as Deemed Competent you will need to demonstrate Continuing Competence every two years. If you are working towards a CoTC check with the Environment Agency (EA) whether your site falls in a High, Medium or Low Risk tier. You may be able to reduce the amount of units you need to achieve to demonstrate competence for your site.

I operate a site in Scotland and/or Northern Ireland, do these competence changes affect me?

The regulatory changes are only effective in England and Wales. Operators should be aware of the different regulatory requirements across UK borders and that the CoTC is still required in Scotland and Northern Ireland until further notice.

Do I have to maintain my competence?

From 1 March 2009, there will be a requirement to comply with Continuing Competence every two years for those persons meeting the Technical Competent Persons requirements for the EPR 2007 Regulations. This includes those individuals, who were Agency assessed*.

EA assessed individuals fall into two categories:

(i) Individuals who passed an EA assessment for a non-CoTC activity prior to 1st March 2009 will be expected to complete a continuing competence assessment between the period 1 March 2009 and 1 March 2011;

(ii) Individuals who passed an EA assessment to benefit from a 2-year grace period and who obtain their competence qualification after 1st March 2009 will be expected to complete a continuing competence assessment during the 2-year period starting on 1 March 2011 and finishing 28 February 2013 i.e. they will skip the first cycle of continuing competence.

I am deemed competent, how does the new competence regime affect me?

‘Deemed Competent' managers will be required to demonstrate Continuing Competence every two years commencing 1 March 2009, in accordance with the EPR 2007 Regulations. You will need to register your existing Deemed Competence with the Environment Agency during the summer of 2008 (as time progresses beyond this period check with the EA).

I am Deemed Competent what do I need to do?

You will need to take a Continuing Competence Test every two years in accordance with the EPR 2007 Regulations. The first test must be passed within the 2 year period commencing 1 March 2009.

My site was previously exempt from the need to hold a CoTC what should I do?

Check with the EA to determine which risk tier your facility falls within. Most previously ‘exempt' facilities are likely to fall within the Medium Risk or Low Risk tiers. Once the risk tier is determined then contact a WAMITAB approved Centre as necessary to register for the appropriate award path and achieve that award.

What about new site permit applications - what do I need to do?

Contact the EA as necessary to confirm the applicability of the transitional period; they will guide you regarding the Risk Tier that your facility falls within. You will be required to achieve at least one technically competent person within 4 weeks of permitted activities commencing. This could be via an Environmental Permit Operator Certificate, EPOC, or a VRQ (either of these if the site is not currently operational) or a 4 Unit award for an operational site. If your site falls to ‘Low Risk' then either the EPOC, or the 4 Unit award, will be the only award you will need.

If your facility falls to Medium or High Risk you will then be required to achieve the higher qualification as necessary, following achievement of the EPOC, or 4 Unit awards, within 12 months of permitted activities commencing.

Note: Landfill operator competence requirements do not benefit from an exemption period and competence must be demonstrated prior to or at the time the Permit is issued.

In all instances Continuing Competence needs to be maintained as appropriate every two years.

What are the competence requirements for Landfill operators?

Landfill operator competence requirements do not benefit from any exemption period and competence must be demonstrated prior to or at the time the Permit is issued. Check with the EA as to the Risk Tier your facility falls within – please note that Non-Hazardous and Hazardous Landfill sites (open and closed) fall within the ‘High Risk' tier, while Inert Landfills (open and closed) appear in the ‘Medium Risk' tier.

Do I have to have a competent person full time on site?

No. The attendance requirements for ‘Technically Competent Persons' remain as current and are determined within the Environment Agency document ‘Technical Competence for Operators of Authorised Waste Facilities, July 2004'.

How much time does a TCP need to spend on site, can they cover more than one site? Please note that section 3.2 of the EA document ‘Technical Competence for Operators of Authorised Waste Facilities, July 2004', specifies the attendance times for the Technically Competent Person.

I thought that 100% attendance was a requirement in the new Waste Operator Competence Scheme, is that so?

No, 100% attendance was not adopted for the Technically Competent Person within the EPR 07 Regulations. The attendance requirements for ‘Technically Competent Persons' remain as current and are determined within the EA document ‘Technical Competence for Operators of Authorised Waste Facilities July 2004'.

My sites were all exempt - how many TCPs do I need?

The operator will determine the requirement for the Technically Competent Person(s) based on EA guidance, site operational hours and percentage attendance requirements. Further guidance can be found within the EA document ‘Technical Competence for Operators of Authorised Waste Facilities July 2004'

Existing CoTC Holders (FAQs)

Section 2: Certificate of Technical Competence (CoTC)

I already hold a CoTC, is this still valid with EPR07 in force from 6 April 2008?

Yes, the CoTC (and the NVQ that underpins the CoTC) will remain valid as appropriate qualifications to meet the necessary Technical Competence requirements specified within the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007 in England and Wales (providing it still meets the competence requirements for the risk tier associated with your facility). What will change is the need to demonstrate Continuing Competence every two years from 1 March 2009.

Note that the ‘WAMITAB CoTC scheme' is still valid in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Will I need to re-take my WAMITAB CoTC?

No. So long as your CoTC (or the NVQ that underpins the CoTC) are appropriate for your facility then all you will need to do is meet the Continuing Competence requirements from 1 March 2009.

I have a number of CoTC's what should I do?

Generally all you will have to do is to take the Continuing Competence assessment every two years from 1 March 2009. It is intended that you will only have to sit one assessment even though you hold more than one CoTC. The assessment that you take will include questions relating to the appropriate CoTC's that you hold.

Do my COTC's expire as EPR07 came into force on 6 April 2008?

No. The COTC's (and the NVQs that underpin them) remain appropriate qualifications to meet the Technically Competent Requirements as specified within the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007, effective from 6 April 2008. All you will have to do from 1 March 2009 is to ensure that the Continuing Competence requirements are met every two years.

What will I get instead of a CoTC?

What you get to demonstrate competence will depend on the risk tier for your facility.

  • High risk: The CoTC will still be available for those persons who achieve a 12 Unit NVQ within the ‘High Risk' tier but this will be optional to the candidate after 22 December 2008. Those candidates who registered for a CoTC before 6 April 2008 will be issued with their CoTC as usual following that date;
  • Medium risk: A new 6-unit award will be available and WAMITAB will issue a Certificate entitled ‘Operator Competence Certificate'. Alternatively a Vocationally Related Qualification is available from WAMITAB;
  • Low risk: A new 4-unit award will be available and WAMITAB will issue a Certificate entitled ‘Operator Competence Certificate'. If you are required to achieve an EPOC then CIWM will issue an ‘Environmental Permit Operators Certificate'.

What is happening to the CoTC in the future?

In England and Wales the CoTC will become an optional certificate for candidates that achieve the appropriate 12 Unit NVQ for high risk activities. The CoTC will continue to be available from WAMITAB for issue to candidates if they choose and pay the relevant fee (currently £120.00) to show the competence achieved when EPR07 came in force on 6 April 2008.

The CoTC scheme in Scotland and Northern Ireland is not changing.

I am part way through my CoTC what do I need to do?

Make yourself aware of the Technically Competence Person requirements as specified within the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007 that came into force on 6 April 2008 and discuss the situation with the EA. You may find that depending on your particular facility type, that there is no change to the competence requirements you need to demonstrate. However in some instances, and depending on the Risk Tier your facility falls within, candidates may find that they do not need to achieve the full 12 units of the NVQ and that only 6 or 4 units need to be gained.

Will I get a refund as I have already registered for a CoTC and I now find I don't need one?

No. WAMITAB has a responsibility to deliver and maintain the CoTC Scheme in England and Wales until the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007 came into force on 6 April 2008. Thereafter WAMITAB's responsibilities for the CoTC scheme will remain in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Return to Operator Competence Page

Continuing Competence

Regulation in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland & Wales

If your question is not included in this section, or you require further information contact WAMITAB (01604 231950), or e-mail info.admin@wamitab.org.uk