Edie Environmental Legislation Summary (May 06)

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 developments this month we see updates to EU's position on waste from mining, oil drilling and other extractive industries, improved public access to environmental information and new rules on the disposal of batteries.

EUROPEAN LEGISLATION

Extractive Waste Directive (2006/21/EC)

Directive 2006/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the management of waste from extractive industries and amending Directive 2004/35/EC, was published in the EU's Official Journal on 11 April 2006.

The Directive provides for the "measures, procedures and guidance to prevent or reduce as far as possible any adverse effects on the environment, in particular water, air, soil, fauna and flora and landscape, and any resultant risks to human health, brought about as a result of the management of waste from the extractive industries".

Amongst the main provisions of the Directive are requirements that operators draw up a waste management plan for the minimisation, treatment, recovery and disposal of extractive waste (Article 5), that waste facilities shall not be allowed to operate without a permit granted by the competent authority and which contains certain details (Article 7), requirements regarding the construction and management of waste facilities (Article 11) and requirements regarding closure and after-closure procedures for waste facilities (Article 12).

Specific to the extractive industry are the provisions on excavation voids (Article 10), which require operators to secure the stability of the extractive waste, prevent the pollution of soil, surface water and ground water, and ensure the monitoring of the extractive waste and the excavation void, when placing extractive waste back in the excavation voids for rehabilitation and construction purposes.

The Directive entered into force on 1 May 2006 and Member States are required to bring into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive before 1 May 2008, although certain transitional measures apply meantime.

The full text of the Directive can be found at the following link

Directive 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services

Directive 2006/32/EC on energy end-use efficiency and energy services, repealing Council Directive 93/76/EEC, was published in the Official Journal on 27 April 2006.

The Directive aims to enhance the cost-effective improvement of energy end-use efficiency in the Member States by "providing the necessary indicative targets as well as mechanisms, incentives and institutional, financial and legal frameworks to remove existing market barriers and imperfections that impede the efficient end use of energy".

Further, the Directive lays the foundations for the development and promotion of a market for energy services and for the delivery of other energy efficiency improvement measures to final consumers.

A general energy savings target of 9% is therefore to be achieved in the following 9 years.

However, each Member State is also to set an intermediate national indicative energy savings target for the third year of application of the Directive, for which the Commission is to provide its opinion as to whether such a target is realistic and consistent with the overall target.

Amongst the other obligations introduced by the Directive, Member States are to draw up programmes and measures to improve energy efficiency and ensure that energy distributors, distribution system operators and/or retail energy sales companies provide statistical information and refrain from activities that might impede the demand for and delivery of energy services and other energy efficiency improvement measures, or hinder the development of markets for energy services and other energy efficiency improvement measures.

The Directive enters into force on 17 May 2006 and Member States are required to have brought into force the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with the Directive not later than 17 May 2008, with the exception of the provisions of Articles 14(1), (2) and (4), for which the date of transposition is to be 17 May 2006 at the latest.

The full text of the Directive can be found at the following link.

Commission Decision 2006/310/EC
Commission Decision 2006/310/EC was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities on 28 April 2006.

The Decision amends, for the purposes of adapting to technical progress the Annex to Directive 2002/95/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment (the RoHS Directive), in respect of a number of exemptions for applications of lead.

The Annex to the RoHS Directive is therefore amended to include these applications of lead, which will now be exempted from the requirements of Article 4(1) of the RoHS Directive, which prohibits the use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE) in new electrical and electronic equipment from 1 July 2006.

The Commission Decision is available at the following link.

Proposed Regulation on the application of the provisions of the Arhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to EC institutions and bodies
Agreement was reached on 2 May 2006 on the proposed Regulation (COM(2003)622 final) on the application of the provisions of the Arhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters to EC institutions and bodies.

The provisions of the proposed Regulation seek to ensure that the public are guaranteed access to environmental information held by Community institutions and bodies, make environmental information available to the public in easily accessible electronic databases, provide for public participation in the preparation by the Community of plans and programmes relating to the environment and guarantee public access to justice at Community level in environmental matters.

Following amendments made by the European Parliament during the co-decision procedure, access to information under the Regulation is to cover information held by subcontractors and include data not available in electronic format as well as information on the different steps in legal proceedings for infringements of Community law, though information on any current cases will be confidential.

All information made available to the public will be provided free of charge. The Parliament also succeeded in ensuring that the institutions are required to adapt their internal rules in order to give effect to the new Regulation, within a relatively short timescale, by mid-2007.

Details can be found at the following link.


Proposed Directive on batteries and accumulators and spent batteries and accumulators
Agreement was also reached this week within the Conciliation Committee on the proposed Directive on batteries and accumulators and spent batteries and accumulators (COM(2003)723).

First put forward in November 2003, the proposed Directive aims to reduce the quantity of spent batteries and accumulators and set European targets for collection and recycling of these. Minimum collection rates to be reached by all Member States have been set at 25% by 2012 and 45% by 2016.

The Directive also requires that Member States establish schemes for producers to take back spent batteries and accumulators free of charge with a view to recycling their raw materials for use in the manufacture of new products and that the sale of batteries and accumulators containing more than 0.0005% of mercury and 0.002% of cadmium will be banned upon entry into force of the Directive, with the exception of emergency and alarm systems, medical equipment and cordless power tools.

Following amendments made by the European Parliament to the proposed Directive, the possible exemptions from the rules on collection and recycling that Member States wanted for small producers have been limited and those remaining will be subject to strict conditions regarding compliance with competition rules.

Once the Directive enters into force later this year, Member States will have a period of 2 years within which to transpose its provisions into national law.

Details can be found by following the link.


UK LEGISLATION

UK Wide
There have been no items of legislation relating to the environment introduced this month, which have UK-wide applicability.

England

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (Commencement No.11 & Savings) Order 2006

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (Commencement No.11 & Savings) Order 2006 was made on 18 April 2006.

The Order brought into force on 2 May 2006 in relation to England, the following provisions of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, all of which contain provisions in respect of public rights of way: Section 47 (redesignation of roads used as public paths); Section 48 (restricted byways rights); Section 49 (provisions supplementary to sections 47 and 48; Section 50 (private rights over restricted byways); Section 102 in so far as it relates to the entry in Part II of Schedule 16 referring to section 54 of the 1981, namely paragraphs 1, 6, 7, 9 and paragraphs 12 to 17.


This Order also contains savings in respect of certain orders relating to roads used as public paths made under sections 53 and 54 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, or applications made for such orders, before the coming into force of this Order.


See link to the OPSI website.


England and Wales

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (Commencement No.1) Order 2006

The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (Commencement No.1) Order 2006 was made on 18 April 2006, bringing into force certain provisions of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 on 2 May 2006.

Article 4, which extends to England and Wales, brings into force sections 1(1)-(3) and (5) and section 2 of the Act, which establish and set out the purpose of a new non-departmental public body, Natural England.

It also brings into force other provisions in Part 1 of the Act which confer certain functions on Natural England and certain paragraphs in Schedule 11, which add Natural England to the Schedules of various Acts of Parliament applying to public sector bodies.

Article 5 of the Order, which extends to England and Wales and to Northern Ireland, brings into force section 98 of the Act, empowering the Secretary of State to give, or arrange for the giving of, financial assistance related to or connected with a Defra function.

Article 6 of the Order, which applies to England only, brings into force sections 66-71 of the Act which change the law in relation to rights of way and mechanically propelled vehicles, restricting the creation of rights of way for mechanically propelled vehicles, and ending certain existing but unrecorded public rights of way for mechanically propelled vehicles.

See link to the OPSI website.


Scotland

The Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2006


The Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 (Consequential Provisions and Modifications) Order 2006 was made on 31 March 2006 and came into force on 1 April 2006.

The Order makes provisions and modifications in consequence of the Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 and the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (CAR) made under the 2003 Act which provide the mechanism by which activities which impact on the water environment are authorised and regulated in Scotland.

In particular, the Order makes provision for the interaction of the CAR with the authorisation and regulation of the construction and operation of generating stations under the Electricity Act 1989 and also makes provision for the application of enforcement action under the CAR to provisions relating to landfill tax.


See the link to the OPSI website.

The Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006

The Private Water Supplies (Scotland) Regulations 2006 were published this week after having been laid before the Scottish Parliament on 20 April 2006.

The Regulations, which come into force on 3 July 2006, supplement Part VIA (quality of water) of the Water (Scotland) Act 1980 in order to achieve the objective set out in article 1(2) of the Drinking Water Directive (Directive 98/83/EC).

That article sets out the requirement to protect human health from the adverse effects of any contamination of water intended for human consumption, by ensuring that it is wholesome and clean.

The Regulations implement the Directive insofar as it concerns private water supplies, with the exception of those private water supplies excluded under Part III.

Part IV contains provisions in relation to the classification of private water supplies and for the review of classifications, while Part V prescribes standards of wholesomeness in respect of Type A and Type B supplies for human consumption purposes.

A supply is regarded as wholesome if it contains concentrations or values in respect of the properties, parameters, organisms and substances that do not contravene prescribed maxima or minima. Part VI makes provision further to article 9 of the Directive to exempt Type A supplies from the wholesomeness requirements of Part V in specified circumstances, and for specified periods.

Part VII contains provisions in relation to the monitoring of Type A supplies while Part VIII contains provisions in relation to Type B supplies.

The remaining Parts of the Regulations contains provisions in relation to the sampling of private water supplies, the information and records to be maintained by local authorities on private water supplies in their area and premises served by such supplies, and the revocation and savings provisions.

See link to OPSI website.

The Private Water Supplied (Grants) (Scotland) Regulations 2006

The Private Water Supplies (Grants) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 were laid before the Scottish Parliament on 20 April 2006 and will come into force on 3 July 2006. Under section 47 of the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003 local authorities are required to pay grants to eligible persons to enable them to improve their private water supply or to provide themselves with such a supply. The Private Water Supplies (Grants) (Scotland) Regulations 2006 therefore provide for the persons to whom, and the circumstances in which, a grant may be payable as well as the procedures for determining applications for a grant and its calculation.

Regulation 3 sets out who may be regarded as an "eligible person" for a grant. Regulation 5 specifies the purposes in respect of which a grant is available, while Regulation 6 sets out a local authority's power to determine an application for a grant.

A local authority may approve or refuse an application or vary or revoke an approval of grant, subject to appropriate conditions. In approving an application, the local authority should specify the approved works in respect of which the grant is payable.

In accordance with Regulation 8 the grant available is to be the lower of £800 or the amount of approved expenditure, though in certain circumstances a local authority may make a grant in excess of that amount.

See the link to the OPSI website.


Wales

There have been no items of legislation relating to the environment introduced within Wales this month.

Northern Ireland

There have been no items of legislation relating to the environment introduced within Northern Ireland this month.

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