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Environmental

Economic

Social

BPEO

Fit with other policies

Practicability

Best Practicable Environmental Option

Guidance and checklist for developers


May 2009

Table of Contents
Introduction ......................................................................................................................................1 Using the Best Practicable Environmental Option guidance..............................................2 Submission of Best Practicable Environmental Option assessment information ........4 Annex 1: Identifying BPEO criteria relevant to the proposal ............................................5 Annex 2: Template for assessment ..........................................................................................10 Annex 3: Life Cycle Assessment ................................................................................................14

Introduction
Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) represents the waste management option which provides the least damage to the environment as a whole, recognising emissions to all media but at an acceptable cost. It is the outcome of a systematic decision making process which considers the environmental, social and economic factors that should be taken into account when making decisions on waste management. BPEO was central to the development of the area waste plans, which were published in 2003. Implementing the area waste plans and making progress towards established policy targets will require the development of facilities to reprocess and recover significant quantities of wastes. The area waste plans recognised that the best options for municipal waste management in the area could potentially evolve over time. Changes could be the result of several factors, such as: the availability of improved waste data; advances in waste treatment technologies; legislation requiring the diversion of waste from landfill; emerging national policies on recycling, composting and recovery via thermal treatment.

This guidance is intended to help local authorities and private developers assess their waste management proposals against BPEO criteria. It can be used for municipal waste and/or commercial and industrial waste proposals. The collated information can then be used to support applications for funding and land-use planning, for environmental assessment and for engaging with local communities. This is particularly pertinent where proposals recommend a change to published BPEO for the future management of municipal waste as a result of issues identified above. There may be cases when a proposal does not fit neatly into the boundaries of a single local authority or waste strategy area. In such cases this guidance can still be used but it is recommended to ask SEPA local Waste Strategy Area Co-ordinators for advice. Further information on the waste strategy areas and contact details for co-ordinators can be found at: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/moving_towards_zero_waste/area_waste_plans.aspx

Best Practicable Environmental Option: Guidance and checklist for developers

Using the Best Practicable Environmental Option guidance


This guidance is set out in three parts: 1. a checklist to demonstrate which of the Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) criteria have been considered in developing waste management options; 2. a recommended template for the assessment results of some (or all) of the criteria; 3. further information on life cycle assessment. Annex 1 is a table of the full suite of BPEO criteria as used in the area waste planning process (in 2003). As part of the overall development of the waste proposal, consideration will have been given to some, if not most, of the issues under the environment, social and economic criteria eg carrying out an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), costing the proposal and identifying funding sources, gauging public acceptability and the impact on local communities. SEPA recognises that, in some cases, not all of the criteria will be relevant to the proposal: the full list of environment, social and economic criteria have been provided as a guide to the range of issues that could be considered when assessing options and determining the final proposal. It may also transpire that other criteria are more appropriate than those provided in the table - these can be added accordingly. Annex 2 consists of a standard template for recording and publishing the outputs of any assessments carried out as a result of developing the proposal under the key headings of: environment; economy; society/local communities; national policies, legislation and statutory targets.

It is anticipated that most of the information to be recorded under the respective criteria will have already been produced at various stages of proposal development. Each section includes reference notes on additional sources of data and information that can be used to support the overall assessment. Early engagement with local communities who will be directly affected by the proposed waste management facilities and services is recommended. Research has shown that community involvement in the early stages of developing new waste services and facilities eases the subsequent planning, environmental permitting and delivery stages. Annex 2 also includes a section for recording what public engagement has already been undertaken, and for listing future activity that will be taken to involve and inform local communities. Annex 3 provides detailed information on the life cycle assessment tool which forms part of the BPEO decision making progress.

Best Practicable Environmental Option: Guidance and checklist for developers

How the assessment results can be used


Planning applications Developers can use the assessment results to explain how they consider their proposals represent the Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) for the waste stream in question. Presenting the information in a consistent structured manner enables SEPA (in our role as a statutory consultee on waste management planning applications) to review the assessment findings and advise planning authorities as to whether we concur with the BPEO justification submitted with an application. Similarly, the information will enable local authority planners to consider this issue when determining planning applications. Environmental assessment Developers and local authorities must consider the environmental impacts of their proposals during the planning and development process. This may come under the requirement to produce an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and/or carry out Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA). This guidance should be used to complement the environmental assessment process by tailoring the environmental criteria considered under the attached checklist to the environmental issues already being assessed. Environmental Impact Assessment is a procedure that must be followed for certain types of development before they are granted consent. The procedure requires the developer to compile an Environmental Statement (ES) describing the likely significant effects of the development on the environment and proposed measures to mitigate those effects. The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 requires that almost all Scottish public sector plans, programmes and strategies which may lead to significant environmental effects must be subject to Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) prior to their adoption. In some instances, SEA may also apply to private companies where they prepare plans for activities and functions of a public nature. At the heart of SEA is the requirement to set out the potential significant effects that implementing a public sector plan, programme or activity may have upon the environment and how they may be mitigated.

Best Practicable Environmental Option: Guidance and checklist for developers

Submission of Best Practicable Environmental Option assessment information


Once the Best Practicable Environmental Option (BPEO) checklist has been carried out and the tables in Annexes 1 and 2 completed, a copy should be retained by the originator and further copies sent to SEPA, the local planning authority, and the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) consultation authorities (depending on how the information is being used see page 5). If you are sending the information to SEPA it should be sent to the relevant officer dealing with your application with an additional copy enclosed for the Waste Strategy Area Co-ordinator. If you have used Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) modelling to support the analysis of environmental impacts, you will be requested to submit the background data and assumptions applied to your modelled options. A dedicated LCA officer will be allocated to review your environmental assessment results. For further LCA advice and/or review requests please email: LCA.Requests@sepa.org.uk

Best Practicable Environmental Option: Guidance and checklist for developers

Annex 1: Identifying BPEO criteria relevant to the proposal

National decision criteria

Relevant proposal

Supporting notes
(eg why criteria has or has not been included, reference to other supporting documents)

Environmental

Yes/no

Air, land and aquatic environment How much pollution could be released to air, soil and water?

Global climate change What is the net release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane?

Biodiversity What effect does the option have on the quality, quantity and diversity of ecological resources?

Renewable resource use What contribution will be made to alternative renewable energy supplies?

Transport What is the impact on the movement of waste from source of production? Sustainable waste management Projected rates of source segregated recycling/composting, and/or projected rates of additional diversion from landfill as a result of residual waste treatment (depending on the option being assessed). Available markets for recovered materials to support achievement of performance targets, impact on disposal of waste to landfill (MSW and BMW). Other environmental criteria (please specify)

Best Practicable Environmental Option: Guidance and checklist for developers

National decision criteria

Relevant proposal

Supporting notes
(eg why criteria has or has not been included, reference to other supporting documents)

Economic

Yes/no

Funding How will the option be funded eg will private industry provide the waste facilities and/or services or will the option require public spending? If public funding is required has this been approved? If privately funded, are contracts in place?

Cost Will changes in waste costs affect local businesses eg impact on small businesses; encourage more sustainable waste management activities?

Business opportunities Will there be new opportunities for local business development as a result of the new waste facilities/services?

Resource use in the economy Will the option improve resource use and promote sustainable consumption and production within the economy?

Other economic criteria (please specify)

Best Practicable Environmental Option: Guidance and checklist for developers

National decision criteria

Relevant proposal

Supporting notes
(eg why criteria has or has not been included, reference to other supporting documents)

Social Employment What will be the effect on local employment opportunities, eg number of new jobs, reallocation of existing jobs, less manual jobs due to high level of automation within the waste facility/service? Social enterprise sector What are the employment opportunities for disadvantaged sectors of the community eg via the community recycling sector? Making producers responsible Does the option encourage waste producers (householders/businesses) to take responsibility for their own waste eg requiring segregation of waste, provision of alternatives to disposal? Skills base What effect will the option have on the quality and diversity of skills in the workforce? Will there be opportunities for improving skills through training and providing more skilled job opportunities for local people or will specialist skills need to be brought into the area (temporarily or full term)? Public acceptability Is the option likely to meet with the publics approval? Health Are there any potential health impacts associated with the option? Accidents Does the option increase the potential risk of accidents? Other social criteria (please specify)

Yes/no

Best Practicable Environmental Option: Guidance and checklist for developers

National decision criteria

Relevant proposal

Supporting notes
(eg why criteria has or has not been included, reference to other supporting documents)

Practicability/deliverability

Yes/no

Practical deliverability Is the option likely to work in practice eg are contracts in place? Can proposed performance targets be met?

Planning Are suitable sites available to locate the residual waste treatment option? Has the option carried out a site selection search (if appropriate)? Technical feasibility What level of risk is associated with the technologies involved in the option eg untried/untested, regulatory uncertainty? Are there established and reliable markets for the outputs of the option eg recyclate, residual waste by-products? Flexibility Does the option allow for flexibility to take into account future changes in waste growth and composition, new legislative requirements, new waste technologies, new markets for recycled materials? Making best use of existing facilities and expertise Does the option make effective use of existing waste management sites, facilities and resources? Other practicability/deliverability criteria (please specify)

Best Practicable Environmental Option: Guidance and checklist for developers

National decision criteria

Relevant proposal

Supporting notes
(eg why criteria has or has not been included, reference to other supporting documents)

Compliance with other policies, targets and legislation

Yes/no

Statutory targets and policies Does the option meet statutory targets, legislative and regulatory requirements (EU/national)?

Non-statutory policies and targets Does the option support or conflict with other areas of EU, national or local policy eg waste, planning, energy, economic development?

Other policy, targets or legislative criteria (please specify)

Best Practicable Environmental Option: Guidance and checklist for developers

Annex 2: Template for Assessment


Assessment notes Criteria (refer to identified relevant criteria from Annex 1) Environment What are the environmental impacts/ opportunities of your proposal?
Sources of further information SEPA encourages the use of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to support the assessment of environmental impacts of waste management systems and infrastructure. SEPA will look for any LCA to be ISO 14040 compliant. See Annex 3 of this document for further details on the use of life cycle assessment. SEPA holds a large range of data arising from its monitoring of the environment as well as operator returned data: http://www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_data.aspx Air Quality Strategy for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can be found at: www.defra.gov.uk/environment/airquality/index.htm Research reports and information on local air quality and the air quality monitoring network across the UK can be obtained from the National Air Quality Archive at: www.airquality.co.uk/archive/index.php The National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory provides estimates of the amount of many atmospheric pollutants emitted from a range of sources including waste management: www.naei.org.uk/ Information on the health effects of air pollution can be found in the publications of the Expert Panel on Air Quality Standards and the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants at: www.defra.gov.uk/environment/airquality/panels/aqs/index.htm and: www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk/comeap/index.htm Information on water quality in Scotland is available at: www.sepa.org.uk/water.aspx Results from the 2007 Scottish Vacant and Derelict Land Survey can be found at: http://openscotland.gov.uk/Publications/2008/01/24150145/0 Information on greenhouse gas emissions and climate change is online at: www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Environment/Climate-Change Guidance on the environmental effects of changes in road traffic has been published by the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment Guidelines for the Environmental Assessment of Road Traffic: www.iema.net Initial information on the ecological significance of the area can be gathered from information sources including development plans, local biodiversity action plans and state of the environment reports. Local authority biodiversity officers and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), as well as non-statutory agencies such as the Scottish Wildlife Trust and local conservation groups, can also provide information on baseline conditions, important areas, habitats, species under threat or of conservation importance, and key sources of impact in the local area. There are individual officers within each local authority who handle local Biodiversity Action Plans and UK Biodiversity Action Plans. National grid references of sites you are considering will provide information on any biodiversity priority issues. Contact details of the officers in your area can be found at: www.biodiversityscotland.gov.uk/ SEPA holds Geographical Information System (GIS) information on natural heritage designations including Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), RAMSAR (wetlands of international importance designated under the Ramsar Convention), Special Area of Conservation (SAC), Special Protection Area (SPA), local nature conservation areas, national scenic areas and green belts (see your local SEPA office). Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has detailed information on market development opportunities to reduce and recycle waste: www.wrap.org.uk/ SEPA holds data on controlled waste in Scotland, specifically on waste arisings, recovery and disposal, and waste-related operational activities: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_data.aspx
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Statements should be accompanied by supporting evidence wherever possible, eg published documents, assessment reports, data sources, stakeholder input

Economic What are the economic impacts/ opportunities of your proposal?


Sources of further information Contact the Scottish Government Waste Strategy and Zero Waste teams for more information on the governments Zero Waste Fund. Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has detailed information on market development opportunities to reduce and recycle waste: www.wrap.org.uk/ More information on sustainable consumption and production can be found at: www.defra.gov.uk/Environment/business/scp Business waste minimisation initiatives and programmes across Scotland are online at: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/resource_efficiency.aspx Information on new business opportunities and improving resource use within the local economy can be found at Envirowise: www.envirowise.gov.uk/home and economic development offices in your local authority.

Social What are the social impacts/opportunities of your proposal on the communities within the waste strategy area?
Sources of further information Community Recycling Network Scotland (CRNS): www.crns.org.uk/ The 2006 Labour Market Investigation of the UK waste management sector was commissioned by Energy and Utility Skills (EU Skills) on behalf of the Sector Skills Development Agency (SSDA). The report is a complete assessment of the labour market structure in the sector, taking into account the prevailing economic and legislative conditions. It was also intended to identify and, where possible, quantify skills gaps and shortages in the sector. This leads to a review of qualification requirements alongside numbers employed at each stage of the supply chain. It builds on the work undertaken during the occupational and functional mapping project of the waste management sector, which was published by EU Skills in 2005: www.euskills.co.uk/download.php?id=164 Waste management job profiles (energy and utility skills) are available at: www.euskills.co.uk/careers/index.php?pageID=208 Waste Management Industry Training and Advisory Board (WaMITAB) can be found at: www.wamitab.org.uk In 2004, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) published a comprehensive UK wide review of the environmental and health effects of waste management: www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/research/health/pdf/healthsummary.pdf (NB: SEPA is about to produce an updated report) Information on what the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is doing to tackle key issues as well as providing access to a range of information about health and safety for the waste management and recycling industries: www.hse.gov.uk/waste Producer responsibility: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_regulation/producer_responsibility.aspx
Further information on informing assessment of public acceptability also appears in the section below on public participation and engagement.

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Public participation and consultation How have you engaged with local communities to get their input and feedback on your proposal? If you are proposing to do this, please specify a timetable along with the process.
Sources of further information Public Participation Directive: www.sepa.org.uk/air/process_industry_regulation/pollution_prevention__control/public_participation_directive.aspx Planning Advice Note 81: Community Engagement - Planning with People. Scottish Government advice to planning authorities and developers on how communities should be properly engaged in the planning process. The advice includes a section on what communities should expect from the planning process: www.scotland.gov.uk/Publications/2007/03/09095010/0 SEPA and SWAG: Guidance and Tools for Information Provision and Consultation on Waste Management Options: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_publications/waste_plans.aspx

Practicability/deliverability Is the proposal practically and technically deliverable? Is it flexible enough to cope with changing demands on it? Does it make use of existing infrastructure where possible?
Sources of further information Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has detailed information on market development opportunities to reduce and recycle waste: www.wrap.org.uk/ SEPA can advise on emerging waste legislative requirements. Contact your local waste strategy area co-ordinator: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/moving_towards_zero_waste/area_waste_plans.aspx SEPA will be publishing Strategic Waste Management Review reports, providing information on all waste activity for each waste strategy area: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_data/waste_data_reports/waste_management_reviews.aspx Using end of waste as a resource, SEPA has published a framework of factors to be considered in establishing whether a particular substance or object is likely to fall within the scope of the definition of waste given in the Waste Framework Directive (75/442 EEC as amended by 91/156 EEC et seq) and adopted in the UK: Is it waste? Understanding the definition of waste: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_publications/idoc.ashx?docid=6d388f08-ab71-49d7-948f-5c7d3e4cef1d&version=-1 Supplementary guidance to Is it waste? www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_publications/idoc.ashx?docid=08a49c7b-2e0d-b1ff94275aaab6203&version=-1 Information on waste planning: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/moving_towards_zero_waste/waste_planning.aspx Various National Planning Policy Guidance Notes (NPPG) and Planning Advice Notes (PAN) from the Scottish Government including: SPP10: Planning and Waste Management; NPPG17: Transport and Planning; PAN51: Planning and Environmental Protection; PAN 63: Waste Management Planning.

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Compliance with other policies, targets and legislation How does your proposal comply with statutory and non-statutory policies and targets?
Sources of further information Consideration should also be given to the following factors: Scottish Government statement on zero waste policies (January 2008): www.scotland.gov.uk/News/ThisWeek/Speeches/Greener/vision-for-waste National Waste Plan (2003) and Area Waste Plans (2003): www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_publications/waste_plans.aspx SEPA waste regulation: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_regulation.aspx NetRegs: www.netregs.gov.uk/netregs Thermal Treatment Guidelines: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_regulation/energy_from_waste.aspx Landfill Allowance Scheme: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/waste_data/municipal_waste/landfill_allowance_scheme.aspx Pollution Prevention Control (PPC): www.sepa.org.uk/air/process_industry_regulation/pollution_prevention__control.aspx Contact your local Waste Strategy Area Co-ordinator to ensure that all relevant policy, targets and legislation has been taken into account: www.sepa.org.uk/waste/moving_towards_zero_waste/area_waste_plans.aspx European waste legislation: http://europa.eu/scadplus/leg/en/s15002.htm

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Annex 3: Life Cycle Assessment Introduction Life cycle assessment is a tool which provides evidence on the quantitative environmental impacts that form part of the BPEO decision making criteria. This annex provides guidance on what SEPA looks for when a life cycle assessment is carried out on proposals for waste management infrastructure. This includes a simple check list to help developers (or others) ensure that all relevant points have been taken into account. This guidance is intended to ensure openness and transparency. It is advisable to discuss any life cycle studies with SEPA before starting to ensure the studies will meet the requirements below. Further detailed guidance is provided in Life Cycle Analysis for Integrated Waste Management Best Practice Guidance, available on request from LCA.Request@sepa.org.uk. ISO 14040 SEPA uses Waste and Resource Assessment Tool for the Environment (WRATE) software for undertaking life cycle assessments of waste management systems. Other life cycle software is available and is suitable for the same use provided that it is compliant with the ISO 14040 standards for undertaking life cycle assessment. However, SEPA would recommend that software specifically designed for use in waste management is used. If using life cycle assessment software designed for waste management and identified as being ISO compliant, most of the ISO requirements will be built into the software. That should be clear in the software documentation. However, it is not only the software which should be ISO 14040 compliant; any study submitted to SEPA should be compliant with ISO standards. In particular this means: The goal and scope of the study should be clearly laid out in the final report, as should the functional unit, the unit of comparison for LCA (for waste management this is generally the infrastructure required to manage a stated amount of waste for one year). All assumptions should be clearly stated in the final report. Data sources should be identified in the final report. The study is subject to peer review to ensure: The data used is appropriate. The interpretation of the results is reasonable. The study is transparent and reasonable.

The peer review should be undertaken by an independent third party who is recognised as being capable of conducting a review of a life cycle study. Peer reviewers comments should be included in the final report together with comments on how they have, or havent, been taken into account and why.

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Results SEPA has identified six key environmental impacts: Global Warming Impacts Climate change emissions are reported as carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents. This means that the quantity of each emission contributing to global warming is converted to the equivalent quantity of CO2 according to its global warming potential. For example: methane (CH4) has approximately 20 times the global warming potential of CO2. So if 50 tonnes of CH4 are emitted the CO2 equivalent is calculated as: 50 x 20 = 1000 tonnes CO2 equivalent. Eutrophication While eutrophication is a natural process, in relation to human impacts on the environment it is defined as the nutrient enrichment of waters. Human activities have dramatically accelerated the natural process of eutrophication by releasing phosphorus compounds (such as fertilisers and detergents), nitrogen compounds (fertilisers) and organic matter (urban and industrial effluents) into the water system. This causes excess growth of plant matter and the depletion of oxygen levels in the water. It is expressed as phosphate (PO4) equivalents. Acidification Emissions to air, water and land of acidifying compounds such as sulphur dioxide (SO2) and nitrogen oxides (NOX) can contribute to the destruction of plants and acidify the soil, which can result in changes to ecosystems. Acidification Potential (AP) is expressed using the reference unit kg SO2 equivalent. Abiotic resource depletion This is related to the extraction of scarce minerals and fossil fuels. The Abiotic Depletion Factor (ADF) is determined for each extraction of minerals and fossil fuels based on the remaining reserves and rate of extraction. It is based on the equation, Production / (Ultimate Reserve) 2 and comparing this to the result for antimony (Sb), which is used as the reference case. The reference unit for abiotic depletion is therefore kg Sb equivalent. Human toxicity and freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity Human toxicity and aquatic ecotoxicity are expressed in kilogram equivalents of 1-4dichlorobenzene. This is a common substance that gives mothballs their distinctive smell and is harmless at low concentrations. At higher concentrations it can cause giddiness, headaches and liver problems. In animals it has been shown to cause tumours at high concentrations. Toxicity is problematic in life cycle assessment due to the relative lack of data on the impacts of many of the substances assessed. The outputs are not as accurate as other environmental impacts and should be treated with caution. All of these impacts can also be expressed as average European person equivalents. This expresses the result in terms of the number of average Europeans required to produce the same impact through their everyday lives.

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Which impacts are assessed will depend on the study in question. Global warming and abiotic resource depletion are global impacts, meaning that the effect will be equal right across the area being assessed and should be used in all studies. The other impacts will be more localised in their effects according to the location of roads, plants etc. The value of assessing these impacts will have to be judged at the outset of any study. Sensitivity testing Sensitivity testing is an essential element of any life cycle assessment. SEPA recommend that the following areas be considered for sensitivity testing: transport distances, and type where options such as rail transportation exist; waste composition; energy offset mix; recovery/disposal method and technology; intermediate facilities.

This list is not intended to be definitive: some of these areas may in some circumstances require sensitivity testing, while other areas not listed may have to be added to the list.

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Life Cycle Assessment checklist Name Software used Final report Goal and scope clearly laid out? Functional unit defined? Data sources identified? Results Global warming impacts: kg CO2 equivalent Eutrophication: kg PO4 equivalent Acidification: kg SO2 equivalent Abiotic resource depletion: kg Sb equivalent Human toxicity: kg 1-4-dichlorobenzene equivalent Freshwater aquatic ecotoxicity: kg 1-4-dichlorobenzene equivalent Sensitivity Testing Transport distances, and type Waste composition Energy offset mix Recovery/disposal method and technology Intermediate facilities Other Peer review Undertaken Included in final report Yes/no Comments Included (Yes/no) Comments Included (Yes/no) Comments Yes/no Comments ISO compliant

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