Edie Environmental Legislation Summary February 2008

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 sees rules which force all but the smallest energy suppliers to make obligatory carbon emissions reductions, new restrictions on hazardous materials used in the manufacture of electronics and clarification of regulations covering the export of waste.


Climate Change

Under new legislative provisions all electricity and gas suppliers with 50,000 or more domestic customers will soon be subject to a carbon emissions reduction obligation.

The Electricity and Gas (Carbon Emissions Reduction) Order 2008, No. 188, which will apply across the whole of Great Britain, sets out a carbon emissions reduction target, in terms of lifetime tonnes of carbon dioxide, which must be achieved by electricity and gas suppliers between 1 April 2008 and 31 March 2011.

The Carbon Emissions Reduction Target extends the scope of the current Energy Efficiency Commitment by providing that a supplier must achieve its carbon emissions reduction obligation by promoting measures that:

  • achieve improvements in energy efficiency;

  • increase the amount of electricity generated or heat produced by microgeneration;

  • increase the amount of heat produced by any plant which relies wholly or mainly on wood;

  • reduce energy consumption.

    Under the Order, energy suppliers are also required to achieve at least 40% of their carbon emissions reduction obligation by promoting measures to those in receipt of certain state benefits, tax credits or are aged 70 or over.

    The Gas and Electricity Markets Authority (known as Ofgem) will determine the carbon emissions reduction obligation for each supplier and will also be responsible for enforcement.



    The Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2008, No. 41, come into force on 15 February 2008.

    These Regulations give effect to Regulation (EC) No 842/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases The Regulations extend to England, Wales and Scotland.

    They also extend to Northern Ireland for the purposes of importation. The Regulations also apply to offshore installations.

    These Regulations prescribe offences and penalties applicable to infringements of EC Regulation No 842/2006 on certain fluorinated greenhouse gases, together with proposed powers for authorised persons to enforce these Regulations.

    The text of these Regulations is available via the link below:-



    The Transfrontier Shipment of Waste (Amendment) Regulations 2008, No. 9, came into force on 5 February 2008.

    These Regulations create offences for failure to comply with the EU TFS Regulation.

    They require waste to be sent to facilities that are authorised in the country of destination and apply the procedure of prior written notification and consent to the export of certain waste for recovery in countries to which the OECD Decision does not apply.

    The text of these Regulations together with an explanatory memorandum is available via the following links:-




    The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2008, No. 37, came into force on 1 February 2008.

    These Regulations revoke and replace the 2006 Regulations, which had implemented the RoHS Directive.

    Since the 2006 Regulations were made, the Directive has been amended by three Commission decisions which revised the list of exempt applications of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls or polybrominated diphenyl ethers.

    These replacement Regulations have been made in order to implement these changes. The text of these Regulations is available via the link below:-





    Regulations which will ensure uniform maximum sentences in Scotland for the offences of possession, transport and sale of protected species and which transpose an amendment made to the Habitats Directive, on the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the EU, by allowing for the possession, sale and transport of specimens of wolves taken in Bulgaria come into force on 25th February 2008.

    The Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2008, No. 17, extend to Scotland only, make further provision for the transposition of the Habitats Directive, by amending the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994.





    The Energy Order 2003 (Supply of Information) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008, No. 3, come into operation on 15 February 2008.

    These Regulations prescribe the types of information which the Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation, the holder of a gas or electricity licence and the General Consumer Council for Northern Ireland may all refuse to supply under the Energy (Northern Ireland) Order 2003. The text of these Regulations is available via the link below:-




    The Environmental Noise (Identification of Noise Dests) (Wales) Regulations 2007, No. 3519 (W.311), came into force on 9 January 2008.

    These Regulations, applicable to Wales, are made pursuant to the duty, laid down in the Environmental Noise (Wales) Regulations 2006, to identify noise sources which must be mapped in implementation of Directive 2002/49/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to the assessment and management of environmental noise.

    The Regulations identify first round agglomerations, first round major roads and first round major railways. No identification of a major airport is made as no airport in Wales meets the relevant criterion. The text of these Regulations is available via the link below:-


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