Edie Environmental Legislation Summary April 2008

Recent changes to legislation which will impact on the environmental sector in the UK, Europe and internationally come under the spotlight in this Semple Fraser and Edie News monthly round-up of new law and policy. Among the changes this month are a reduction in the landfill tax credit cap and regulations which make it easier to prosecute developers who fail to meet energy efficiency and carbon cutting standards.

UK

Landfill Tax

The maximum credit that landfill site operators can claim against their annual landfill tax liability when making contributions in respect of the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF) was cut from April, 1 2008.

The Landfill Tax (Amendment) Regulations 2008 amend the Landfill Tax Regulations 1996 by cutting the maximum credit available to UK landfill site operators from 6.6% to 6%.

However, it is stated that this will not be to the detriment of the LCF, which redresses some of the environmental costs of landfill by improving the environment in the vicinity of landfill sites, as an increase in landfill revenue is expected as a result of the increase in rates of landfill tax from April 1, 2008.

The Regulations also terminate the power of the regulatory body to revoke the approval of an environmental body, for failing to comply with its obligations, this power is now conferred upon the Commissioners.

The Regulations also extend the period that environmental bodies have for providing details relating to contributions received and expenditure incurred from 14 to 28 days.

The Landfill Tax (Amendment) Regulations can be viewed at this link.


ENGLAND and WALES

Climate Change
New Regulations which extend the time limit for prosecuting contraventions of building regulations concerned with the conservation of fuel and power, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in England and Wales, came into force on April 6, 2008.

The Building (Amendment) Regulations 2008 amend the Building Regulations 2000 by designating certain provisions to which section 35A of the Building Act 1984 applies thus providing for longer time limits for the prosecution of breaches.

The only provisions which can be designated under section 35A are those made for the purpose of conserving fuel and power or in connection with its use, or for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Previously, local authorities had to bring a prosecution for breaches within six months of the completion of the offending work. Under the new Regulations, the time limit increases to two years from commission of the offence.

The Regulations together with an explanatory circular may be accessed via the links below:

first link
second link

New Regulations which provide additional transitional relief relating to a seller or landlords' duty to make an energy performance certificate (EPC) available to prospective purchasers and tenants came into force on April 6, 2008.

The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2008, amend the Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 in relation to various requirements related to energy performance certificates and recommendation reports.

These regulations enable local authorities to enforce parts of the building regulations which provide for energy performance certificates on construction by providing them with access to the register of energy performance certificates and associated documents and allow disclosure of the information contained within.

The Regulations also provide for different fees for lodging different types of document (energy performance certificates and recommendation reports, and display energy certificates and advisory reports) on the register.

first link
second link


SCOTLAND

Climate Change

New regulations, which come into force later this year, will introduce a single survey system to the house buying and selling sector in Scotland.

The Housing (Scotland) Act 2006 (Prescribed Documents) Regulations 2008 shall make it mandatory, from October 1, 2008, for sellers or their agents to provide prospective purchasers with a Home Report consisting of a Single Survey (including an Energy Efficiency Report) and a Property Questionnaire.

Under the Regulations a seller, or their agent, will have 9 days in which to comply with a request for such information. Furthermore, in order to prevent the use of out of date documents, the date to which information relates must be no earlier than 12 weeks before the house was placed on the market. However, a seller is entitled to withdraw a property from the market and return it within 28 days using the same documents.

The Regulations exempt sellers from the duty of having to provide information where the property falls within certain categories including: a portfolio of two or more houses; seasonal and holiday accommodation; mixed sales where a house is sold with non-residential properties; dual use where the house is or forms part of a property recently used for both residential and non-residential purposes; unsafe properties where a house is unoccupied; new housing not previously used or occupied; and properties to be demolished.

The Energy Efficiency Report will have to detail the current and potential energy use, running costs and energy efficiency of a house.

The text of the Regulations together with an accompanying executive note may be accessed via the following links:-

first link
second link

Pollution Prevention and Control

Powers under the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 will be used to transpose the Batteries Directive in Scotland.

The Pollution Prevention and Control (Designation of Batteries Directive) (Scotland) Order 2008, came into force on March, 17 2008 designating Directive 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators as a relevant directive for the purposes of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999.

link

Renewables Obligation

Amendments have been made to the Marine Supply Obligation (MSO), introduced under the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) (ROS). The MSO requires suppliers, with an obligation under the ROS, to meet a proportion of their obligation by producing as evidence, ROCs awarded to eligible wave or tidal generation in Scottish waters, or alternatively to pay a higher buy-out price.

The ROS Order 2007 contained MSO levels from 2008/9 onwards (the 2007/8 level was set at zero). The Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Amendment Order 2008, which came into force on April 1, amends the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Order 2007 by introducing adjustments to the minimum wave and tidal Requirements falling to suppliers as part of their renewables obligation.

link


NORTHERN IRELAND

Waste Management


On April 3 the waste management sector in Northern Ireland saw the introduction of new legislative provisions under the Waste and Contaminated Land (NI) Order 1997.

Occasionally a waste management licence holder is required to carry out works, that he is not entitled to carry out, in situations where consent is required to grant him certain rights in relation to land enabling him to comply with the terms of his licence.

The Waste and Contaminated Land (1997 Order) (Commencement No. 8) Order (Northern Ireland) 2008 brought into operation parts of the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 which make provision for consulting with persons affected, by virtue of them having an interest in land, prior to the grant, variation, suspension or revocation of a waste management licence.

Provision is also made for compensating those required to grant such rights over land to licence holders in such circumstances.

The text of the commencement order above may be accessed via this link.

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