Edie Environmental Legislation Summary (March 06)

Recent changes to legislation whichth 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 developments this month we see EU legislation on public access to pollution information and on the marketing and use of dangerous substances, while in the UK orders on offshore installations and the renewables obligation come into force.

EUROPEAN LEGISLATION


Commission Decisions 2006/68/EC and 2006/69/EC

Two decisions, taken by the European Commission concerning genetically modified organisms (GMO's) on 13 January 2006, have been published in the Official Journal of the European Communities. The first, Commission Decision 2006/68/EC, authorises the placing on the market of foods and food ingredients derived from genetically modified maize line MON 863 as novel foods or novel food ingredients under EC Regulation No 258/97. The second, Commission Decision 2006/69/EC, authorises the placing on the market of foods and food ingredients produced from genetically modified Roundup Ready maize line GA21 as novel foods or novel food ingredients, also under EC Regulation No 258/97. Both decisions grant the necessary consent to Monsanto Europe SA, to place food and food ingredient derived from MON 863 and GA21 on the Community market. This however, will be subject to the labelling requirements laid down in Article 13 of EC Regulation 1829/2003 and will be valid for a period of 10 years.

See links to Europa website:- here and here


EC Regulation No 166/2006

Following the approval of the UN-ECE Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers by the European Community by virtue of its decision of 2 December 2005 (Commission Decision 2006/61/EC), which aims to enhance public access to information, in line with the UN-ECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (the Aarhus Convention), EC Regulation No 166/2006 was adopted on 18 January 2006. The Regulation establishes an integrated European Pollutant Release and Transfer Register ("the European PRTR") in the form of a publicly accessible electronic database and lays down rules for its functioning in order to implement the Protocol referred to above. Under Article 3 of the Regulation, the European PRTR is to include information on releases of pollutants specified in Annex II for which the applicable threshold value is exceeded that must be reported by operators of facilities carrying out the activities listed in Annex I of the Regulations. Certain off-site transfers of waste and pollutants in waste water must also be reported as well as release of pollutants from diffuse sources where such information exists and has already been reported by Member States. The Regulation will enter into force at the end of the month.

See links to Europa website:-
here and
here


Directive 2005/90/EC

Council Directive 76/769/EEC on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to restrictions on the marketing and use of certain dangerous substances and preparations, has been amended for the 29th time. Directive 2005/90/EC of 18 January 2006 amends Annex I of Directive 76/769/EEC, which sets out the list of substances classified as carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic to reproduction. The full text of the Directive with the new Annex I as amended can be found at the Europa website.



UK LEGISLATION

UK wide legislation

The Offshore Installations (Safety Zones) Order 2006

The Offshore Installations (Safety Zones) Order 2006 was made on 15 February 2006 and came into force on 8 March 2006. The Order establishes, under section 22 of the Petroleum Act 1987, safety zones having a radius of 500 metres from the point around each installation specified in the Schedule and stationed in waters to which section 21(7) of the Act applies (these include territorial waters and waters in areas designated under section 1(7) of the Continental Shelf Act 1964 (c.29)) (article 2). Vessels, which for this purpose include hovercraft, submarine apparatus and installations in transit, are prohibited from entering or remaining in a safety zone except with the consent of the Health and Safety Executive or in accordance with regulations made under the Offshore Installations (Safety Zones) Regulations 1987.

See link to OPSI website.

English legislation

The Renewables Obligation Order 2006

The Renewables Obligation Order 2006 has been published prior to its entry into force on 1 April 2006. The Order revokes and replaces, with amendments, the Renewables Obligation Order 2005. Made under section 32 of the Electricity Act 1989, the Order imposes an obligation on all electricity suppliers, which are licensed under that Act and which supply electricity in England and Wales, to supply to customers in Great Britain specified amounts of electricity generated by using renewable sources. Alternatively, an electricity supplier is permitted to provide evidence that other licensed electricity suppliers have supplied electricity generated using renewable sources (wind, water, solar and biomass) instead of it or to make a payment to the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority.

The 2006 Order builds upon the provisions of the 2005 Order though with new provisions having been added relating to the calculation of eligibility for renewable obligation certificates (ROCs) issued under this Order of electricity generated by combined heat and power generating stations which are fuelled wholly or partly by waste. The new provisions of the Order also modify the existing provisions relating to the procedure to be followed by the Authority in issuing ROCs, with the aim of introducing additional flexibility in that procedure and further changes are made in order to include new provisions in respect of a preliminary accreditation procedure.

See link to OPSI website.


The draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2006

The draft Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2006 have also been published and once formally introduced, will come into force on 6 April 2006. The draft Regulations amend the Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications and Deemed Applications) Regulations 1989, which make provision for the payment of fees to local planning authorities in respect of applications made under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and for the payment of fees to the Secretary of State in respect of applications for planning permission which are deemed to have been made in connection with an appeal against an enforcement notice.

The draft Regulations amend the 1989 Regulations in order to provide for the payment of fees in respect of site visits carried out by local planning authorities to mining sites and landfill sites to monitor compliance with the planning permissions to which they are subject. The Regulations also provide for situations where there is more than one operator on site, where the site is inactive, and where two or more sites are grouped together for the purpose of monitoring, and limit the number of chargeable visits in any one year.

See link to See link to OPSI website.


The Joint Waste Disposal Authorities (Levies) (England) Regulations 2006

The Joint Waste Disposal Authorities (Levies) (England) Regulations 2006 were laid before Parliament on 8 February 2006 and came into force on 1 March 2006. The Regulations, applicable in England only, confer a power on joint waste disposal authorities established under the Waste Regulation and Disposal (Authorities) Order 1985 to issue levies on their constituent councils for the purpose of meeting their expenses in respect of financial years beginning on or after 1st April 2006 where, but for section 117 of the Local Government Finance Act 1988, they would have a power under article 7 of the 1985 Order (levies) to require the councils to pay those expenses.

The Regulations include provisions as to when levies are to be issued, the apportionment of levies between authorities as well as special provisions for the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority. The Regulations also make provision for interest on unpaid levies and the anticipation of levies. Transitional provisions are also included regarding the application of the Levying Bodies (General) Regulations 1992.

See link to OPSI website.


Scottish legislation


Draft Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Order 2006

The draft Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Order 2006 has been published, and once formally adopted, will come into force on 1 April 2006. The Order revokes and replaces, with amendments, the Renewables Obligation (Scotland) Order 2005. Made under section 32 of the Electricity Act 1989, the Order imposes an obligation on all electricity suppliers, which are licensed under that Act and which supply electricity in Scotland, to supply to customers in Great Britain specified amounts of electricity generated by using renewable sources. Alternatively, an electricity supplier is permitted to provide evidence that other licensed electricity suppliers have supplied electricity generated using renewable sources (wind, water, solar and biomass) instead of it or to make a payment to the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority.

The 2006 Order builds upon the provisions of the 2005 Order though with new provisions having been added relating to the calculation of eligibility for Scottish renewable obligation certificates (SROCs) issued under this Order of electricity generated by combined heat and power generating stations which are fuelled wholly or partly by waste. The new provisions of the Order also modify the existing provisions relating to the procedure to be followed by the Authority in issuing SROCs, with the aim of introducing additional flexibility in that procedure and further changes are made in order to include new provisions in respect of a preliminary accreditation procedure.

See link to OPSI website.


The Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 (Commencement No. 2) Order 2006

The Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 (Commencement No. 2) Order 2006 has been published, having been made on 1 February 2006. The Order brought into force sections 25 and 26(12) (insofar as it applies to section 25) of the Water Services etc. (Scotland) Act 2005 on 10 February 2006. Section 25 of the 2005 Act enables the Scottish Ministers to make an order containing a code of practice, to be known as a "sewerage code" for the purposes of assessing, controlling and minimising sewerage nuisance, while section 26(12) defines "local authority" for the purposes of section 25.

See link to OPSI website


The Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 (Commencement No. 4) Order 2006

The Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 (Commencement No. 4) Order 2006 was made on 8 February 2006. The Order appoints the 6th March 2006 as the date on which further provisions, namely sections 29, 32 and 33(1) of the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 shall come into force.

Section 29 of the 2003 Act inserts, a new section 1(3A) to (3D) into the Sewerage (Scotland) Act 1968 and a new section 6(2A) to (2E) into the Water (Scotland) Act 1980. These provisions enable the Scottish Ministers to make regulations on what comprises a reasonable cost for the purposes of section 1 of the 1968 Act and section 6 of the 1980 Act, which may include provision on the matters which may be taken into, or left out of, account in calculating that reasonable cost, and for the method of calculation to be applied.

Section 32 of the 2003 Act amends the 1980 Act to clarify the circumstances in which infrastructure, including waterworks and mains, vest in Scottish Water, while section 33 of the 2003 Act, inserts a definition of "public SUD system" into section 59(1) of the 1968 Act, which definition is referred to in section 1(3B) of the 1968 Act.

See link to OPSI website


The Water Environment (Consequential and Savings Provisions) (Scotland) Order 2006

The Water Environment (Consequential and Savings Provisions) (Scotland) Order 2006 has been made and is due to come into force on 1 April 2006. This Order, made under sections 36(3) and 37 of the Water Environment and Water Services Scotland Act 2003, makes consequential and savings provisions necessary or expedient in consequence of the 2003 Act and the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2005. The 2005 Regulations provide the mechanism by which activities which impact on the water environment are authorised and regulated in Scotland.

The purpose of the Order is to make the existing legislative framework which regulates the water environment consistent with the new regulatory regime contained in the 2003 Act and the 2005 Regulations. In particular the current measures on pollution control as they apply to the water environment contained in the Control of Pollution Act 1974 and the Rivers (Prevention of Pollution) (Scotland) Acts 1951 and 1965 are repealed. Such matters will now be regulated under the 2005 Regulations. Provision is also made in relation to the interaction of the 2005 Regulations with section 17 of the Water (Scotland) Act 1980, which makes provision for the Scottish Ministers to make orders to provide for the acquisition of water rights by Scottish Water.

See link to OPSI website

The Environment Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 (Commencement and Savings) Order 2006

The Environment Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 (Commencement and Savings) Order 2006 was published this month, having been made on 19 January 2006. The Order appoints 20th February 2006 as the date for the coming into force of the provisions of the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, in accordance with Regulation 26(1) of the Environment Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, so far as not then in force. The Order also provides that notwithstanding the repeal of the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes (Scotland) Regulations 2004 (by the commencement of section 24 of the Act), those Regulations continue to have effect in relation to plans and programmes whose first formal preparatory act is on or before 19th February 2006.

See link to OPSI website


Welsh legislation


There have been no items of Welsh legislation this month concerning the environment.


Northern Irish legislation


Drainage (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006

The Drainage (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 were made on 9 February 2006 and are due to come into operation on 20 March 2006. The Drainage (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2001 provided for the implementation in relation to drainage schemes, drainage works, canal schemes and marina works carried out by certain Northern Ireland Departments of the requirements of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Directive (Directive 85/337/EEC, as amended). These Regulations (which revoke and re-enact with amendments the 2001 Regulations) implement the further changes that have been made to the EIA Directive by Directive 2003/35/EC.

The Regulations continue to require the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development in the execution of certain drainage works and schemes under the Drainage (Northern Ireland) Order 1973, and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure in the execution of certain canal schemes and marina works under Part III of the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999, to carry out an environmental impact assessment and on the basis of that assessment to decide whether or not to proceed with the works or schemes in question.

However a number of changes have been made to the original 2001 Regulations. The new Regulations set out in a clearer fashion the basis upon which proposed drainage works or marina works or a proposed drainage or canal scheme may be exempted from the requirements of the Regulations. The new Regulations also clarify which bodies the Departments are under a duty formally to consult with and also introduce a requirement for the Departments to make available to the public any additional information which comes to light after the stage in the process at which such information should have been formally publicised, during the process of consultation about the environmental impact of the works or schemes. The Regulations also set out in more detail the information to be provided to other EEA States and in public notices and provide for wider means of notifying the public of relevant information, including using electronic means. Finally, the Regulations impose on the Departments a duty to formally record determinations made under the Regulations and to make them available to the public and introduce a new general duty on the Departments to make information available to the public at large.

See link to OPSI website


The Renewables Obligation Order (Northern Ireland) 2006

The Renewables Obligation Order (Northern Ireland) 2006 was made on 16 February and will come into force on 1 April 2006. The Order is made under Article 52 of the Energy (Northern Ireland) Order 2003 and imposes an obligation on all electricity suppliers, who are licensed under the Electricity (Northern Ireland) Order 1992, to supply to customers in Northern Ireland specified amounts of electricity generated from renewable sources. Alternatively, an electricity supplier is permitted to provide evidence that other licensed electricity suppliers have supplied electricity generated using renewable sources (wind, water, solar and biomass) instead of it or to make a payment to the Northern Ireland Authority for Energy Regulation.

The 2006 Order revokes and replaces, with amendments, the provisions of the Renewables Obligation Order (Northern Ireland) 2005. New provisions having been added relating to the calculation of eligibility for Northern Irish renewable obligation certificates (NIROCs) issued under this Order of electricity generated by combined heat and power generating stations which are fuelled wholly or partly by waste. The new provisions of the Order also modify the existing provisions relating to the procedure to be followed by the Authority in issuing NIROCs, with the aim of introducing additional flexibility in that procedure and further changes are made in order to include new provisions in respect of a preliminary accreditation procedure.

See link to OPSI website


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