Edie Environmental Legislation Summary July 07

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. This month legislation covering Home Information Packs in the UK comes into force along with rules about the import and export of waste and a tightening up of conservation law.

UK LEGISLATION

Waste

The Transfrontier Shipment of Waste Regulations 2007 enter into force on 12th July 2007, implementing EC Regulation No. 1013/2006 on waste shipments.

The Regulations require the Secretary of State to implement, after consultation, a waste management plan containing policies on the import into or export from the UK of waste intending for disposal. Imports and exports of waste must then comply with this plan and to the extent that any do not, the competent authorities at the relevant ports must object.

The Regulations make it an offence to ship waste otherwise than in an environmentally sound way that does not endanger human health.

They also contain various procedural requirements in relation to shipments of waste into or from the UK to or from other EU Member States, and make it an offence to fail to comply with these requirements.

The Regulations also make it an offence to fail to comply with the procedural requirements and the various prohibitions also contained in the Regulations in respect of exports of waste to and imports of waste from third countries outside of the EU.

A further offence is also created of failing to comply with the procedural requirements applicable to the transit of waste through the UK to and from third countries outside of the EU.

There are provisions in the Regulations that relate to notifiers, those who arrange shipments of waste subject to the general information requirements, operators of facilities, consignees and laboratories in relation to the shipment, recovery or disposal of waste in the UK.

It is an offence for such a person to fail to comply with the addition duties incumbent upon them.

There is also provision for SEPA and the Environment Agency to set fees for carrying out their functions in respect of transfrontier shipments of waste.

The Regulations are available at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071711.htm

Conservation

The Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 2007 enter into force on 21st August 2007, and implement the provisions of the Wild Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) and the Habitats Directive (92/43/EC) with the effect that they are now applicable to marine areas where the UK has jurisdiction over its territorial waters.

These areas, and offshore marine installations and certain ships and aircraft will be affected by the Regulations.

The Regulations make provision for sites in the offshore marine area to be selected and classified as protected under the Birds and Habitats Directives. Provision is also made for the management of these sites under management schemes.

Conservation measures must also be set out in relation to special areas of conservation that are demarcated under the Regulations. Steps must be taken to avoid the disturbance of species and the deterioration of habitats in designated areas.

The Regulations stipulate that the effects of plans or schemes likely to have a significant impact upon a designated site must be given due consideration before the plan can be authorised.

Such plans and schemes can be vetoed if they pose an adverse threat to the "integrity of the site". In certain cases it will also be necessary to review authorisations granted before the designation of the site, with a view to revoking them if they affect the integrity of the site.

In addition, the Regulations create offences where animals or birds within sites classified for their conservation are intentionally disturbed, or where habitats are intentionally or recklessly damaged or destroyed.

It will also be an offence under to kill any wild birds or take their eggs, subject to some defences, and the Regulations provide for measures to protect birds' nesting places, breeding places and resting places.

The Regulations also require the Secretary of State to ensure that there is surveillance and monitoring of the species and habitats within the designated offshore areas. Additionally, the Regulations provide for the appointment of "wildlife officers", who will be responsible for investigating offences committed under the Regulations.

They will also have the power to search and enter premises to gather evidence.

The Regulations are available at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071842.htm

ENGLISH AND WELSH LEGISLATION

Energy Performance of Buildings


The Home Information Pack (No. 2) Regulations 2007 enter into force on 2nd July, setting out the documents that are to be included in home information packs, and in what circumstances. Further provision is also made in relation to home condition reports.

There are documents which under the Regulations are 'required', and must be included in the packs, and those that are 'authorised', and may be included.

No documents may be included in a pack unless they are required or authorised, and no advertising information may be included either. There are provisions in the Regulations that deal with the clarity and source of documents included in the pack or copies thereof.

Required documents include an index, information on the energy efficiency of the property, a sale statement, title information, additional information for commonhold and leasehold properties and property searches.

Some documents have specified minimum terms in order to comply with the Regulations.

Separate provision is made for the information authorised to be included in a home information pack. Such information can be included in a separate document or within one of the required documents.

The information authorised includes a home condition report, translations, Braille versions, summaries or explanations of pack documents, additional title information, additional information relating to commonhold and leasehold properties and additional information about physical condition, as well as further property searches and searches relating to other premises.

Certain required information for new properties where the legal commonhold or leasehold interest being sold has not yet been registered or created is specified.

There is also a required order to the documents in a pack, and age limits on documents at the first point of marketing. There are provisions on the accuracy of home information packs, and covering the situation where they must be updated.

The Regulations contain exceptions from the duties in respect of home information packs. These are in respect of seasonal accommodation, sales mixed with sales of non-residential premises, dwelling houses used for residential and non-residential purposes, portfolios of residential properties, unsafe properties and properties to be demolished.

Home conditions reports must be made by members of home inspectors certification schemes approved by the Secretary of State. There is provision for a register of home condition reports to be kept.

The level of penalty charge for penalty charge notices is £200.

The regulations are available at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071667.htm


The Energy Performance of Buildings (Certificates and Inspections) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 enter into force on 2nd July, amending the principal Regulations of the same name.

The amendments extend the validity period of an energy performance certificate from 3 months to 12 months where the property is first marketed in circumstances requiring a home information pack. The energy rating requirements of the Building Regulations 2000 are replaced with requirements for energy assessment and energy performance certificates.

The regulations are available at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071669.htm

Conservation

The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 enter into force on 21st August 2007, and make further provision to implement the Habitats Directive in England and Wales.

Following the ruling of the ECJ in Case C-6/04, where the UK was found to be in breach of a number of provisions of the Habitats Directive, further detailed legislation was to be introduced UK wide to deal with all of the confirmed breaches of the Directive. The Conservation (Natural Habitats &c.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2007 were therefore brought into force in Scotland on 15 February this year. The Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 now make similar provision in England and Wales.

The 2007 Regulations make numerous amendments to the Conservation (Natural Habitats & c.) Regulations 1994.

Included within the main amendments is provision in Regulation 5(12) for the Secretary of State and the Welsh Ministers to ensure surveillance of the conservation status of natural habitat types and species of Community interest.

Additional measures are also set out to extend the protection of certain wild animals to include the offence of "recklessly" injuring or harassing a European protected species. Regulation 5(48) inserts new Regulation 84B into the 1994 Regulations, which cover the assessment of implications for European sites, making these provisions now apply to certain authorisations under the Water Industry Act 1991 and the Water Resources Act 1991.

Regulation 5(55) inserts a new Part IVA is inserted into the 1994 Regulations to make provision for the appropriate assessment of land use plans.

These changes are all introduced as a result of the deficiencies in transposition of the Habitats Directive, as identified in Case C-6/04.

A number of amendments were also necessary to refer to provisions and definitions under the Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats etc) Regulations 2007, which enter into force on the same day.

The Regulations also make it an offence to for anyone on board a ship entering territorial waters to introduce any live animals or plants unless they have a licence under the Regulations.

The regulations are available at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071843.htm

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