Tuesday 16 April 2013

Renewed Focus on UK Metal Detecting: "Ban Green Waste...", oh, no, wait a minute, uh, er....

"Challenged by formal education" some of them may be in Minister Lammy's memorable words, but that does not mean incapable of learning. For many months here on this blog we have been suggesting that instead of the slogan "ban green waste" metal detectorists might find themselves more in step with most of British society concentrating on the [non-ferrous metallic] contamination in the compost which is (for artefact hunters) the main object of their complaint. Today the old green waste petition (signed by only 1516 people) has been closed and a new one started. This one has a single-word addition which makes more sense - a shame it took them over a year to realise that...
The call is for DEFRA and the Environment Agency to do regular weekly tests and in the event that the waste is above acceptable levels to fine the companies who delivered the 'waste' accordingly. That's absolutely fine, because look back to what a Government spokesman said in the House last December in response to the artefact-hunter-friendly Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell:
 “The PAS 100 specifications include stringent limits on physical contaminants, such as metal, plastic and glass, that can be present in the finished composts. Those limits were revised down from a total of 0.5% of dry weight to 0.25% in 2011. They are now the toughest in Europe. If those standards are met, the output is considered to be completely recycled and is no longer subject to waste management controls. Producing waste to those standards helps producers to guarantee compost that is safe to be marketed or spread on agricultural land as a quality product and helps to improve confidence in composted materials among end users”. …. 
The Government already recognises enforcement needs to be tightened up. Hence, up to 0.25% dry weight, one part in 400, could be aluminium etc, and that would be the most stringent standard in Europe, and obviously never going to be tightened further. Would that degree of saturation (especially if the compost containing even such low levels of non-ferrous metallic contamination was applied to a field every few years) not make land totally undetectable? If so the UK's tekkies are now petitioning for compliance with a standard that will still severely hinder the activity. 
 Hat-tip to Heritage Action

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