Edie Environmental Legislation Summary October 2007

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 the accelerated phase out of ozone-depleting chemicals, banning toxic chemicals from paint on ship hulls and guidance on corporate reporting of GHG emissions are among the updates discussed.

INTERNATIONAL

Climate Change

Governments have agreed an accelerated freeze and phase-out of ozone and climate-damaging chemicals, hydrochlorflurocarbons (HCFCs).

Agreement was reached, at the 20th Anniversary Celebrations of the Montreal Protocol, to freeze production of HCFCs in 2013 and bring forward the final phase-out date of these chemicals by ten years.

The effect of this agreement:

  • Productions of HCFCs are to be frozen at the average 2009-2010 production levels in 2013.
  • Developed countries will reduce production and consumption by 75% by 2010 and by 90% by 2015 with final phase out in 2020.
  • Developing countries will cut production and consumption by 10% in 2015, by 35% by 2020, and by 67.5% by 2025 with a final phase-out in 2030.
  • A small percentage of the original base line, amounting to 2.5%, will be allowed in developing countries during the period 2030-2040 for 'servicing' purposes.

    The United Nations Environment Programme news release on this matter may be viewed here.

    Maritime

    The International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-Fouling Systems on Ships (AFS Convention), banning the use of harmful organotins in anti-fouling paints used on ships' hulls, will enter into force on 17 September 2008.

    The Convention was adopted on 5 October 2001 by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the United Nations specialized agency with responsibility for safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.

    When the Convention is in force, ships will no longer be permitted to apply or re-apply organotin compounds which act as biocides in their anti-fouling systems; for ships already carrying such compounds on their hulls a coating that forms a barrier to such compounds will have to be applied.

    The Convention will apply to ships flying the flag of a Party to the Convention, as well as which operate under their authority and to all ships that enter a port, shipyard or offshore terminal of a Party. It will apply to all ships, including fixed or floating platforms, floating storage units (FSUs), and floating production storage and off-loading units (FPSOs).

    The International Maritime Organisation press release on this matter may be accessed here.

    EUROPE

    Climate Change

    The European Commission has revised guidance to firms for monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions under the EU carbon trading scheme (ETS). The new guidelines will apply from January 2008. The Commission states that the new rules are expected to reduce compliance costs.

    Revisions include clearer and stricter requirements for monitoring plans and an expanded list of reference emission facts for industrial processes and fuels.

    The commission decision establishing these guidelines may be accessed here.

    Agriculture

    The European Commission has issued three new directives concerning the marketing of plant protection products and the fixing of maximum levels for pesticide residues: in and on fruit and vegetables; in and on cereals; in and on foodstuffs of animal origin; and in and on certain products of plant origin, including fruit and vegetables.

    The directives 2007/55/EC, 2007/56/EC and 2007/57/EC amend existing council directives as regards maximum residue levels of the following: azinphos-methyl; azoxystrobin, chlorothalonil, deltamethrin, hexachlorobenzene, ioxynil, oxamyl and quinoxyfen; and dithiocarbamates.

    The directives may be accessed from the Official Journal of the European Union here.

    The European Commission has issued a decision concerning the non-inclusion of methomyl, a pesticide, in Annex I to Council Directive 91/414/EEC (concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market) and the withdrawal of authorisations for plant protection products containing that substance.

    The European Commission Decision 2007/628/EC may be accessed here.

    The European Commission has issued a decision concerning the non-inclusion of Trifluralin, a herbicide, in Annex I to Council Directive 91/414/EEC (concerning the placing of plant protection products on the market) and the withdrawal of authorisations for plant protection products containing that substance.

    The European Commission Decision 2007/629/EC may be accessed here.

    Pollution Reporting

    The European Commission has issued a decision setting out reporting guidelines for standard reporting of persistent organic pollutants.

    The decision establishes a common format for the submission of data and information pursuant to Regulation (EC) No 850/2004 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning persistent organic pollutants.

    The European Commission Decision 2007/639/EC may be accessed here.

    UK

    Electric/Electronics Industry

    The Environment Agency (EA) has issued a statement warning companies that import, rebrand or manufacture electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) to make sure that they sign up with an approved producer compliance scheme or face enforcement action.

    On 1 July 2007 the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations came into force in the UK, implementing the EU's WEEE Directive, with the aim of encouraging more recycling, recovery and re-use, and ultimately diversion from landfill.

    The Environment Agency press release may be accessed here.


    ENGLAND (LONDON)

    Environmental Offences

    The London Local Authorities Act 2007 (LLA Act 2007), which comes into force on 19 September 2007 and is applicable to London, contains provisions which allow councils to apply to the Secretary of State to designate an area of land as an enforcement action zone, where higher fines can be imposed for a number of environmental crimes including littering, graffiti, noise nuisance and fly posting.

    The London Councils press release on the effect of the LLA Act 2007 may be accessed via the following here.

    The text of the LLA Act 2007 is available here.


    NORTHERN IRELAND

    Agriculture

    The Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2007 (Statutory Rule 2007 No. 421) were made on 2 October 2007 and shall come into operation on 5 November 2007.

    The Regulations implement Council Directive 85/337/EEC on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment, as amended by Directive 2003/35/EC, in relation to projects for the restructuring of rural land holdings, and projects for the use of uncultivated land and semi-natural areas for intensive agricultural purposes.

    They also implement Council Directive 1992/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild flora and fauna insofar as those projects affect sites protected by that Directive.

    The regulations also revoke The Environmental Impact Assessment (Uncultivated Land and Semi-Natural Areas) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2006 and amend the Common Agricultural Policy Single Payment and Support Schemes (Cross Compliance) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2005.

    The Regulations provide for the treatment of certain notices served under the Environmental Impact Assessment (Uncultivated Land and Semi-Natural Areas) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2006.

    The text of the Environmental Impact Assessment (Agriculture) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2007 is available here.

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