Edie Environmental Legislation Summary May 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. Among the developments this month we see the EU authorising the use of six chemicals found in pesticides, new rules on greenhouse gas emission trading in the UK, while Northern Ireland sees a host of new water and sewerage service regulations come into force.

EC Legislation

Pesticides

The continued use of six chemicals in pesticides has been approved by the EU, and have been placed on the positive list of active ingredients permitted on the EU market. The six approved chemicals are glufosinate, dimethoate, demethomorph, metribuzin, phosmet and propamocarb.

The Directive placing the substances on the list can be accessed at the following link:-

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/site/en/oj/2007/l_106/l_10620070424en00340042.pdf

Flooding

The final text of a new Directive on flood management has been agreed by MEPs and EU governments. The Directive will require river basins and coastal areas subject to flooding to be identified by Member States, and for measures to be taken to reduce the risks associated with these areas. A particular emphasis will be placed on 'non-structural measures' to reduce flood risks, such as the use of natural floodplains. The Directive will have to be transposed by Member States during 2009, and preliminary flood assessments will have to be completed by 2011. Flood risk maps and management plans will then have to be drawn up by 2013 and 2015 respectively.

UK Legislation

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading

The Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2007 enter into force on 1st May 2007. The Regulations specify the approved national allocation plan for the second phase of the EU Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme, which runs from 1st January 2008 to 31st December 2012.

The 2005 Regulations of the same name are amended so that activities for manufacturing ceramic products are only within the scope of the second and later phases of the Scheme where over 75 tonnes of products per day are fired in a kiln with a capacity of more than 4m3 and a setting density of more than 300 kg/m3.

The Regulations can be accessed at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071096.htm

English and Welsh Legislation

Waste

The Waste Management (Miscellaneous Provisions) (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 enter into force on 2nd May 2007, amending the 1994 Regulations of the same name.

Schedule 3 to the 1994 Regulations is amended so that liquid milk may only be applied to land once a month under the relevant exemption. A further amendment means that any application of plant tissue to land must be made in accordance with any conditions imposed by a notice under the relevant Plant Health Order for England or Wales.

In addition, there are new paragraphs inserted into the Schedule to create exemptions from the licensing regime for activities that involve disposing of pesticide solution into a lined biobed and the treatment of the land with the biobed itself, for the treatment of land with ash from the incineration of pig or poultry carcases and for the treatment of land with dredging spoil from farm ditches.

The Regulations also amend the Clean Air (Emission of Dark Smoke) (Exemption) Regulations 1969 to remove an exemption for the emission of dark smoke caused by open burning of containers that are lightly contaminated with pesticides.

The Regulations can be accessed at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071156.htm

Northern Irish Legislation

Landfill

The Landfill (Amendment No. 2) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 enter into force on 4th June 2007, amending both the Landfill Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 and the Waste Management Licensing Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003. The amendments implement the Waste Acceptance Criteria Directive 2003/33/EC and also make provision in terms of implementing the Landfill Directive 1999/31/EC.

The waste acceptance criteria for granular waste are amended, and new waste acceptance criteria are set for monolithic waste, including in relation to stable non-reactive waste and non-hazardous waste deposited in the same cell with such waste, as well as waste that is acceptable at landfills for hazardous waste. The sampling and testing of those wastes is provided for.

Limit values in respect of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are also set by the amendment Regulations for waste that may be accepted at landfills for inert waste.

Additional conditions will be imposed in landfill permits or waste management licenses from a 30th October 2007 to prohibit the acceptance of certain types of waste, such as whole and shredded used tyres.

The Regulations are available at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/sr/sr2007/20070258.htm

Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC)

The Pollution Prevention and Control (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 enter into force on 20th May 2007. The Regulations amend the Pollution Prevention and Control Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2003 in a number of ways.

The section on Combustion Activities is amended to identify the circumstances in which a fuel comprising landfill gases can be burnt by combustion appliances with an aggregated rated thermal input of between 3 megawatts and 50 megawatts, without requiring a combustion activity permit under the Regulations.

The section on Gasification, Liquefaction and Refining Activities is also amended by adding motor vehicle refuelling activities to the list of activities requiring a permit under the Regulations.

The section on Incineration and Co-incineration of Waste is amended to clarify the fact that incineration incidentally in the course of burning landfill gas does not require a permit under the Regulations.

The Regulations are available at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/sr/sr2007/20070245.htm

Water - 3 new sets of regulations for Northern Ireland

The Water and Sewerage Services (2006 Order) (Commencement No. 1 and Transitional Provisions) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007 has entered into force.

The Order outlines how applications for various water or sewerage services outstanding immediately before the transfer date on 1st April were to be processed, and provides that any agreements for the provision or adoption of sewers, drains or wastewater treatment works made under the 1973 Order and in force immediately before the transfer date will have effect as if they had been made under the 2006 Order. Any person entitled to use works before the transfer date will continue to be so entitled after that date.

Provisions in relation to trade effluent charges and liability of owners/occupiers for charges are detailed in the Order. There are also provisions in relation to undertakers' works and their powers in relation to land, such as giving notice of intention to execute works, rights of entry, complaints in respect of the exercise of works powers on private land and compulsory acquisition of land.

Provision is also made for liability for pollution offences under the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 in relation to discharges from wastewater treatment works.

The Order can be accessed at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/sr/sr2007/20070194.htm

The Urban Waste Water Treatment Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 entered into force on 1st April 2007, replacing the 1995 Regulations as amended. They implement the Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive.

The Regulations require the Department of the Environment to review its identification of sensitive areas and high natural dispersion areas within a specific time and every four years thereafter as a minimum. It must publicise its decision in this regard. It must also maintain on its website maps of current sensitive areas and high natural dispersion areas, as well as the dates when these were identified. Maps and other information held at its offices must be made available for public inspection.

Sewerage undertakers are required to ensure that collecting systems are provided that ensure that urban waste water that enters them is subject to treatment consistent with the standard prescribed in the Regulations. The applicable standard is determined by reference to the size of the agglomeration from which the waste water originates, as well as the nature of the waters into which treated water is to be discharged. In most cases secondary treatment is needed, and more exacting standards apply for waters identified as sensitive areas. Less exacting standards are allowed for waters that are high natural dispersion areas. It is the duty of the Department of the Environment to ensure the relevant standards are met, and to monitor discharges in waters to which the Regulations apply. It, along with the Department for Regional Development, must publish biennial reports on the disposal of urban waste water and sludge and provide these to the Commission.

The Regulations can be accessed at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/sr/sr2007/20070187.htm

The Water Supply (Water Quality) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 entered into force on 1st April 2007. They apply mainly in relation to the quality of water supplied for drinking, washing, cooking, food preparation and for food production, as well as the publication of information on water quality.

Water undertakers must annually identify water supply zones that will be relevant for a particular year, and these may not comprise areas with estimated populations in excess of 100,000. Standards are detailed for water supplied for cooking, drinking, food preparation, washing and other domestic purposes as well as that supplied for food production. Water will be regarded as wholesome if it contains concentrations under the maximum prescribed in respect of various properties, elements, organisms and substances.

Provision is made for the sampling and monitoring of water supplies by way of audit or check. A minimum number of samples must be taken every year at random from consumers' taps. Samples may also be taken at supply points. Where the undertakers have a reason to believe that the quality of the water within their supply zone has been adversely affected samples must also be taken.

The procedure for the investigation of every failure to meet the requisite criteria for wholesomeness is set out, and a report must be made to the Department of the Environment.

The substances, processes and products that can be used in the treatment of water are dealt with, and there are requirements in relation to disinfection and treatment of surface water. Waters below category A3 in quality cannot be used for the purposes of abstraction. There are also specific provisions in relation to cryptosporidium.

The water undertaker must maintain records with information on the quality of water supplied in their water supply zones, and this information must be made available for public inspection. They must also publish an annual report on water quality

The Regulations are available at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/sr/sr2007/20070147.htm

Packaging Waste

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 entered into force on 5th April 2007, imposing duties on producers to recover and recycle packaging waste. The Regulations revoke the 2006 Regulations of the same name. Charities are excluded from having producer responsibility obligations.

The criteria for being subject to the Regulations are to have had an annual turnover of £2million in the last financial year and to have handled packaging or packaging materials weighing in excess of 50 tonnes in the previous year. Rules are detailed to calculate the extent of a producer's recovery and recycling duties.

Producers can buy packaging waste recovery notes (PRNs) or packaging waste export recovery notes (PERNs) or both in order to satisfy their obligations, or they may join a compliance scheme. If a producer joins a scheme registered with the Department of the Environment then he will be exempt from complying with his duties under the Regulations for that year. The scheme must meet the recovery and recycling obligations and any relevant consumer information obligations that its members would have had were they not a member of the scheme. Producers who are not members of a scheme must register with the Department of the Environment.

The Regulations contain requirements for registration of a producer or a scheme, as well as conditions that apply and the reasons for which registration may be cancelled and how this is done. Producers and operators of schemes must keep records and provide returns to the Department of the Environment, and producers performing their obligations themselves must also provide certificates that demonstrate compliance with their duties. The procedure for accreditation as a reprocessor or an exporter is detailed in the Regulations, as is the basis on which accreditation can be cancelled.

The Regulations contain rights of appeal against decisions taken by the Department, and provide for the status of a producer or scheme in the period before the appeal is resolved.

The Department has duties to monitor compliance with the Regulations and also to keep a public register. Information must also be provided in relation to schemes that do not appear to have met their duties in relation to recovery and recycling.

Contravention of the obligations to register, recover and recycle packaging and to provide a certificate of compliance under the Regulations is an offence, as is providing false or misleading information.

The Regulations can be accessed at the following link:-

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/sr/sr2007/20070198.htm


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