Environmental Legislation Summary June 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 proposed changes to vehicle emissions standards from the EU, the final arrival of the REACH chemicals regulations and an update to biofuel tax rules in the UK.

EU LEGISLATION

Vehicle Emissions
The text of an EU Regulation on emissions from cars and light commercial vehicles has been published, setting new limits on emissions of fine particles, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. The Regulation will be applicable from September 2009, with tighter standards in respect of nitrogen oxides applicable from 2014.

As of 2009, nitrogen oxide emissions from petrol powered cars must not exceed 60mg/kg. Diesel cars will have to comply with a limit on nitrogen oxide emissions of 180mg/kg from 2009, and limits of 80mg/kg from 2014. The limits on particulate matter from diesel cars will be 5mg/kg from 2009, bringing it in line with petrol cars. This measure will entail the fitting of particulate filters to all new diesel cars from 2009.

The text of the Regulation can be accessed at the following link:-
http://register.consilium.europa.eu/pdf/en/07/st03/st03602.en07.pdf

Chemicals - REACH
REACH, the system for Registration, Evaluation and Authorisation of Chemicals, came into force on Friday 1 June 2007. Under REACH, manufacturers, importers, distributors and professional users who market or use chemicals must ensure that they are registered with the new European Chemicals Agency in Helsinki. This will require information about the characteristics and hazards, if any, associated with a chemical.

Whilst the Regulation entered into force this week, the first requirements do not take effect until 1 June 2008, when the need to register products comes into force. From this date, the clock starts ticking in relation to a six month window that is provided in which chemical manufacturers can pre-register their products.

Registration requires industry to obtain relevant information on chemical substances produced or supplied above 1 tonne a year and to use that data to manage the chemicals safely. Thereafter, during the evaluation stage, regulators assess whether the information provided by industry is sufficient and that they have applied the right risk management measures. Those chemicals that pose a serious hazard may be restricted, or may be used only following the grant of a specific 'authorisation'.

Authorisation controls the use of substances of highest concern, making certain substances subject to a ban unless industry can demonstrate that the risks are properly controlled or that there are socio-economic benefits outweighing the risks. The Regulation however is geared towards substitution of these substances.

http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2007/070531a.htm
www.hse.gov.uk/reach/

UK LEGISLATION

Marine Works
The Marine Works (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2007 enter into force on 24th June, implementing the EIA Directive 85/337/EEC in respect of certain marine works.

The Regulations deal with marine works for which regulatory approval is required, including harbour works. The Regulations detail the circumstances in which an environmental impact assessment is required for such works.

In respect of marine works carried out as part of a type of project listed in Annex I to the EIA Directive, an EIA will generally be required, unless the project is capable of benefiting from one of the exemptions. In respect of works carried out pursuant to a type of project listed on Annex II to the Directive, and EIA will be required if the project will have significant effects on the environment.

There is provision for determining whether or not the project would have significant effects on the environment, and for screening opinions to be provided in which such determinations are set out.

There is provision in terms of the actual environmental impact assessment process for public participation, through the need for the applications to be publicised and a period for representations that can then be taken into account in making a decision on the project. There is also provision for consultation with bodies with environmental responsibilities. The Regulation also provides for certain NGO's to have title and interest to sue in Scotland in relation to environmental impact assessment of marine works.

The Regulations can be accessed at the following link:-
www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071518.htm

Biofuels
The Biofuels and Other Fuel Substitutes (Payment of Excise Duties etc) (Amendment) Regulations 2007 come into force on 30 June 2007. The Regulations amend the Biofuels and Other Fuel Substitutes (Payment of Excise Duties etc) Regulations 2004.
Amongst the changes made are amendments to the definitions of "exempt producer" and "large producer" contained in Regulation 3 of the 2004 Regulations. The obligation on small producers of biofuels ("exempt producers") to make an entry of their production premises, make returns of biofuel produced and pay excise duty is removed.
Changes are also introduced reducing the frequency with which returns and duty payments must be made by producers other than "large producers".
Regulation 4 inserts Regulations 8A-F in the 2004 Regulations and imposes liability on a producer to make entry of all premises at which he has produced or will produce biofuel, where either of two specified conditions relating to the size of bio-fuel production are met.
The conditions are that at the end of any calendar month the producer has produced 2,500 litres or more of biofuel in the previous year, and that at any time there are reasonable grounds to believe that the producer will produce 2,500 litres or more of biofuel in the following year. Finally, Regulation 5 amends Regulation 13 of the 2004 Regulations to exclude exempt producers from the need to keep a motor fuels record and Regulation 8 amends Regulation 19 of the 2004 Regulations to reduce the frequency with which producers other than large producers must make returns from monthly to quarterly.

The 2007 Regulations can be found at:
www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071640.htm

Dangerous Substances
The Control of Dangerous Substances and Preparations (Amendment) Regulations 2007 come into force on the 30 June 2007. The Regulations replace Schedule 1 of the Controls on Dangerous Substances and Preparations Regulations 2006, which sets out the table of substances, preparations and restrictions.

Point 20 of the table (arsenic compounds) is amended to give effect to Directive 2006/139/EC, which amends the restrictions set out in Annex I of the Dangerous Substances Directive (Directive 76/769/EEC).
www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071596.htm

ENGLISH, WELSH AND NORTHERN IRISH LEGISLATION

The Financial Assistance for Environmental Purposes Order 2007 was made on 7 June 2007 and comes into force on 9 July 2007. The Order, which extends to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, amends Section 153(1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

Paragraph (uu) of that section is replaced with a new paragraph which enables the Secretary of State, with the consent of the Treasury, to give financial assistance to the International Sustainable Development Fund (ISDF), instead of the previous scheme known a the UK Environment for Europe Fund.

The purpose of the ISDF is to bring together financial support for projects and activities promoting the United Kingdom's commitments for action on sustainable development at international level by merging the UK Environment for Europe Fund and the World Summit on Sustainable Development Implementation Fund. Paragraph (ww) of section 153(1), which related to the World Summit on Sustainable Development Implementation Fund is therefore now deleted.

The full Order can be found at the following link:
www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20071671.htm

NORTHERN IRISH LEGISLATION

Offshore
The Deposits in the Sea (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007 entered into force on 29th January 2007, amending the Deposits in the Sea Exemptions Order (Northern Ireland) 1995 by providing that the exemption shall only apply where the operation does not involve the recovery or disposal of hazardous waste.

The Regulations can be accessed at the following link:-
www.opsi.gov.uk/sr/sr2007/20070051.htm

Waste
The Waste (Amendment) (2007 Order) (Commencement No.1) Order (Northern Ireland) 2007 was made on the 4th June 2007, bringing into operation a number of provisions of the Waste (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2007 on 25 June 2007. Included within the Articles which are to be brought into force, are provisions concerning the defence of acting under employer's instructions (Article 3), investigation and enforcement costs (Article 6), clean-up costs (Article 7), powers to require landowners to remove waste (Article 12) and the repeal of a number of provisions of the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 (Article 20 and the Schedule). The 2007 Order made a number of miscellaneous amendments to the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997.

The Commencement Order and the 2007 Order can be found at the following links:-
www.opsi.gov.uk/sr/sr2007/20070294.htm
www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2007/20070611.htm

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