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EA and WRAP publish revised Quality Protocol

Revised Quality Protocol

Updated QP for aggregates from inert waste and trial of new online compliance tool

THE Environment Agency and WRAP have published a revised version of the end of waste Quality Protocol (QP) for the production of aggregates from inert waste.

The new document (pictured) updates the original QP (first published in 2004) to reflect the latest approved industry standards, and incorporates other improvements and clarifications to make it easier for producers and users to ensure full compliance with end of waste criteria.   

The revised QP is applicable immediately in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, with a transition period for existing QP producers and users until 1 January 2014.

Coinciding with the updated QP, the Environment Agency is also inviting feedback on a prototype online self-assessment tool for QP compliance.

Important changes in the revised QP include the requirements that aggregates are:

  • Produced under Factory Production Control, as set out in the new European Standard BS EN 16236 ‘Evaluation of conformity of aggregates – Initial Type Testing and Factory Production Control’.
  • Conform with CE marking requirements contained in the Construction Products Regulations, which apply to all aggregates placed on the market conforming to harmonized European Aggregates Standards from July 2013.

Key improvements within the revised QP include the addition of:

  • A comprehensive Appendix listing all currently approved industry standards, specifications and quality controls.
  • A definitive list of acceptable waste input materials.
  • Improved guidance on testing procedures and requirements.
  • Good practice for the transport, storage and handling of recycled aggregates.

John Barritt, special adviser on aggregates with WRAP, said: ‘The aggregates QP has been a major success story for business resource efficiency. Early and wide take-up across the construction and demolition sectors has created quality recycled products from waste, and reduced the use of primary materials by more than 200 million tonnes.’

He added that the document is now an established reference tool, with at least 62% of recycled aggregates in the UK now produced to QP criteria.

Roger Hoare, environment and business manager with the Environment Agency, said: ‘In revising the QP, we have worked closely with industry to ensure it is up to date with current legislation and reflects industry best practice. The updated protocol will provide greater clarity for industry and regulators, which can only help improve compliance and uptake of the criteria and the financial and environmental benefits they deliver.

‘Alongside the release of the revised QP, we are also trialling a new online compliance tool for aggregates (, and we’d welcome feedback from existing and potential QP users.’

John Bradshaw-Bullock, technical adviser to the Aggregates, Asphalt and Slag Product Groups at the Mineral Products Association (MPA), said: ‘The MPA has fully supported the QP since its inception and is pleased to see the document has now been brought up to date in respect to both the recent changes within the European Standards for aggregates and the implementation of the Construction Products Regulation in July 2013.

‘It is now even more important that recycled aggregates are produced in accordance with the requirements of the QP. In doing so they can be CE marked to demonstrate conformity with a harmonized European Standard which satisfies both the requirement for ‘end of waste’ and, importantly, permits the recycled aggregate to be legally placed on the market. The challenge is to now ensure that contract documents and national specifications require the use of QP-compliant recycled aggregates.’

Developed under the EU-funded EQual project and made available recently for industry user feedback, the QP Checker web tool offers an easy, step-by-step guide for companies to check whether their waste-derived products meet the relevant QP requirements.

Designed initially for aggregates, the prototype tool creates a user report that documents performance and pinpoints any areas where improvements could be made. It also provides a template for regulatory enforcement officers to support producers who are working towards achieving a quality standard, and underpin a more consistent compliance regime.

John Lay, product quality director for cement and building products at CEMEX, and chair of TC154, the European aggregates standards committee, said: ‘The QP Checker for aggregates is a very straightforward and easy to use tool. It certainly gave us a nudge and a prod in a couple of areas. If this was available to all it would certainly raise the bar and ensure compliance, to the benefit of all responsible businesses like CEMEX, and to the environment.’

The updated QP for the production of aggregates from inert waste is available at:

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