The EU Industrial Emissions Directive, transposed by the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations, requires operators to submit a baseline report on soil and groundwater contamination where an activity involves hazardous substances. However, the directive does not specify whether intrusive investigations should be conducted, causing substantial uncertainty among operators.
Historically, the United Kingdom has relied on landfilling as its main method of waste disposal. However, advancements in waste processing technology have led many in the waste management sector to question whether there is an alternative solution that is not only more environmentally sound, but also economically attractive. Many think that this solution exists in the form of landfill mining.
Over the next two years, the government looks set to introduce the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS). ESOS is a compulsory programme of regular energy audits for large enterprises that constitutes a light-touch approach to implementation of the EU Energy Efficiency Directive. While the government's approach will no doubt be welcomed, ESOS is nonetheless likely to result in significant additional work for affected enterprises.
Over the past few decades a new tier of technology has been developed: nanotechnology, which operates using a new set of principles. The solutions to many challenges, such as those associated with climate change, pollution and food provision, will likely come from inventions involving nanotechnology, but with these benefits may also come new risks.
The Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) Regulations 2009, which came into force on March 1 2009, transpose the EU Directive on Environmental Liability into UK law and impose two liability regimes for environmental damage.
The Climate Change Act, which recently received royal assent, contains provisions that will set a legally binding target for reducing the United Kingdom's greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Among other things, the act requires the government to publish five-yearly carbon budgets and establishes a Committee on Climate Change.
A new regulatory framework for environmental permitting was recently introduced in England and Wales. The new regime simplifies existing permitting and compliance systems and creates a new risk-based, proportionate system that focuses on practical environmental protection and a reduction in the administrative burden placed on both regulators and facility operators.
In 2007 the government introduced the draft Climate Change Bill which will be the first national legislation setting legally binding targets for carbon reduction. The groundwork for one of its measures, the Carbon Reduction Commitment, is already underway.
The English High Court has granted permission to four specialty chemicals companies to proceed with a challenge to the EU Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals. The court also agreed to refer part of the challenge to the European Court of Justice.
The UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has paved the way for the introduction of carbon labelling on products in the United Kingdom. DEFRA recently announced that it was joining forces with the Carbon Trust in order to develop a standard benchmark for measuring the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions 'embodied' within goods and services.
This update provides an overview of the EU regulation on the Registration, Evaluation and Authorization of Chemicals (REACH) and its impact on supply into the United Kingdom by manufacturers based outside the European Union. It outlines the steps that non-EU manufacturers may need to undertake to ensure compliance and manage indirect impacts of REACH.
The EU Environmental Liability Directive must be transposed into domestic law by April 30 2007. Transposition will result in the creation of new environmental liabilities, some of which will not be covered by public liability policies (nor by many existing general liability policies). UK companies should therefore consider preparing for the directive now to reduce the risk of uninsured losses.
With the first full year of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme over and continuing uncertainty as to whether the European Commission will reject the revised UK National Allocation Plan for a second time, it seems timely to review the development of the United Kingdom's first National Allocation Plan and the progress of UK preparations for the second phase of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme.
The government has published new guidelines to help companies report on their environmental performance as part of their annual business review. Although described as voluntary, there will now be increasing pressure on all public limited companies and large private companies to report on their environmental performance and, critically, to report this in a credible fashion.
A number of important environmental initiatives have been tabled for the current parliamentary session. They include the Waste and Emissions Trading Bill, which aims to help the United Kingdom meet its obligations under the EU Landfill Directive, and a bill on the clean-up of civil nuclear liabilities.
In seeking fairness for the sufferers of an asbestos-related disease, the judgment in a recent personal injury case may have far-reaching implications for polluters. Industrial companies may find themselves open to increased liability, as its principles could extend to any environmental damage caused by exposure to chemicals.
A proposed EU directive is set to increase liability risks for operators of potentially polluting activities. Persons adversely affected by such activities will be entitled to notify regulatory authorities of damage and require them to take enforcement action at their own cost if damage is proven and within the directive's scope.
The integrated pollution prevention and control regime has introduced strict procedures for the transfer of permits authorizing the operation of regulated installations. Where a purchaser fails to act in time to ensure that the necessary transfers are effected prior to completion, it leaves itself open to heavy penalties.
The government envisages that the new regime for the landfill of waste will result in a more flexible, integrated, effective and environmentally beneficial regulatory system. However, its implementation will be a challenge for industry.
Including: Land Contamination and Remediation; Water Quality; New Regulations for Oil Stores.