Edie Environmental Legislation Summary March 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 industry preparing for Site Waste Management Plans, amendment of regulations covering land contaminated by radiation and legislation designed to control diffuse pollution in Scotland.



The Site Waste Management Plans Regulations 2008 enter into force on April 6, implementing a key policy driver for reductions in construction waste. The Regulations make it compulsory for clients and principal contractors to prepare and implement site waste management plans in respect of all construction projects with an estimated cost in excess of £300,000.

More stringent requirements apply to projects with estimated costs in excess of £500,000. “Construction” under the Regulations is defined to include preparatory works such as site clearance and excavation, as well as demolition and dismantling of structures and works related to the installation and maintenance of services.

The plans require both estimates of the types and volumes of waste that will be produced at the site, and confirmation of the actual types and volumes produced, as well as details of how they have been dealt with.

The requirement for the plans is intended to encourage more efficient use of resources and better management of waste materials – particularly in respect of recovery of waste arisings. The construction industry is considered to have relatively poor resource efficiency, but it should be noted that the Environment Agency Guidance document Is it Waste? operates to limit reuse of uncontaminated soils to reuse on the same site with no apparent justification under EU law, thereby increasing the likelihood of these valuable clean materials being disposed of as waste.

The Regulations can be accessed at the following link


Radioactive Contaminated Land

New legislation, amending existing Radioactive Contaminated Land Regulations shall come into force in England and Wales on April 6, 2008. The new Regulations amend existing provisions in relation to the modifications that they made to section 78YB of the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The amendments made are consequential on the making of the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations 2007 which also amend section 78YB of the Environmental Protection Act.

These Regulations, which come into force alongside the Environmental Permitting Regulations, make consequential amendments to existing Radioactive Contaminated Land Regulations so as to reflect changes made by the Environmental Permitting Regulations thus ensuring continuity.

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






Water Pollution

New legislation, applicable to Scotland, which will control the impact of diffuse pollution on the water environment from rural land use activities, comes into force on April 1, 2008. The Water Environment (Diffuse Pollution) (Scotland) Regulations 2008 amend the Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2005 (CAR) and the Control of Pollution (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) (Scotland) Regulations 2003 (SSAFO).

CAR is amended by the addition of General Binding Rules relating to the control of diffuse pollution which apply to the use of fertilisers, keeping of livestock, land cultivation, drainage, construction of roads and tracks and the application of pesticides and sheep dip, while the SSAFO Regulations are amended to provide for alternative forms of disposal for certain types of slurry and silage effluent.

The text of the Regulations together with an accompanying executive note is available via the following links:-




Environmental Impact Assessment

The Offshore Electricity Development (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008 enter into force on March 5, 2008, implementing the Environmental Impact Assessment Directive (85/337/EEC) in respect of offshore renewable electricity developments.

The Regulations impose a requirement on Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment to determine whether a development is an EIA development or not whenever they receive an application for a consent to construct, operate or extend a generating station under Article 39 of the Electricity (Northern Ireland) Order 1992 or an application for a consent to install overhead lines under Article 40 of the same Order.

There is also provision for a developer to request that the Department make such a determination prior to submitting an application for consent.

EIA developments under the Regulations include all developments of generating stations of 300MW or more and all installations of overhead lines with a voltage of 220kV or more and running for 15km or more in length.

In addition, developments of generating stations and installation of some overhead lines will be EIA developments if they are likely to have significant effects on the environment due to their nature, size or location.

Where the Department has determined that a development is an EIA development, the developer must submit an Environmental Statement within 6 months, and must be advertised.

The Department must then consult with relevant authorities and determine whether the development should be allowed to go ahead on the basis of the Environmental Statement, the consultation and any representations received.

The Regulations can be accessed at the following link.


The Waste (Amendment) (2007 Order) (Commencement No.2) Order (Northern Ireland) 2008, No. 75 (C. 2) shall bring Article 10 of the Waste (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) Order 2007 into operation on 7th April 2008 thus enhancing district councils’ powers to tackle those who fail to use waste receptacles correctly. District councils shall have the power to serve notice on such persons, offering them the opportunity to discharge any liability to conviction by payment of a fixed penalty.

The Order can be accessed via the following link.

The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2008, No. 77, come into operation on 6th April 2008. These Regulations amend the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2007.

These Regulations correct an error in respect of the definition of the Waste Directive and amend recovery and recycling targets imposed. Recycling targets for certain materials are increased, whereas for some they are reduced.

The text of the Regulations may be accessed via the following link.

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