Published: 01 May 2010
The Environment Agency has announced a further exemption from the handling of waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE), which will be provided through the environmental permitting regime later this year. Currently, only two exemptions exist for WEEE under the regime - for repair and refurbishment, and the secure storage pending recovery elsewhere. At present, the repair exemption does not relate to the dismantling of WEEE, and the storage exemption relates only to WEEE taken as a whole.
It is the Agency's intention that an additional exemption will be introduced to cover the actual dismantling of WEEE prior to onward recovery of its components, as well as for the storage of component parts for the purpose of recovery elsewhere. However, an application for a permit under the new exemptions will not be granted unless certain conditions are met.
The main regulations relating to these are:
- Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations SI 2010/675
- Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations SI 2006/3289.
Political ducking savaged by Ed Miliband
Published: 01 May 2010
Labour’s climate and energy secretary, Ed Miliband, has gone on the rampage and accused his political rivals of “ducking” difficult environmental issues.
Despite similar-sounding manifestos on the environment, recent clashes over nuclear power, expanded flying, windfarms and climate change scepticism have served to highlight the fact that the major parties have divergent views.
Miliband has challenged the Lib-Dems to explain how they would meet a pledge to cut electricity emissions without developing new nuclear power stations. The Lib-Dems claim their energy targets will be met by making homes and businesses more energy efficient.
Although Labour and the Conservatives agree on new nuclear power, Miliband has challenged the Tories to explain an insistence there will be no taxpayer subsidies for nuclear power, despite reports that nuclear reactors cannot be built and operated without pubic support.
Further, while the Government’s planned expansion of Heathrow Airport is opposed by the Conservatives, its an idea supported by at least one shadow cabinet member and London mayor, Boris Johnson. Furthermore, any opposition does not rule out increasing the use of smaller airports like Luton.
Miliband also attacked the record of Conservative councils in opposing windfarms. Conservative spokesman Greg Clark said this was because they had more councils in rural areas. The parties disagree on how to resolve the problem and it’s a debate that goes to the heart of a wider clash over whether the Government needs to intervene more to deliver environmental improvements.
Miliband heatedly claims that many Conservatives are climate change sceptics and implied that the Tory shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt was one after Hunt had responded to a question by saying, "There are climate sceptics in all parties.”
Published: 01 May 2010
Regulation (EC) 66/2010, on the EU Ecolabel, which sets out new rules for establishing and applying the voluntary EU ecolabel scheme.
It revises the previous EU ecolabel scheme set out in Regulation (EC) 1980/2000, which it revokes and replaces. That Regulation promoted a voluntary ecolabel award scheme for products with a reduced environmental life cycle impact. The scheme also provided consumers with accurate, non-deceptive, science-based information on the environmental impact of products.
Experience has shown a need to amend this ecolabel scheme in order to increase its effectiveness and streamline its operation. The aim of this Regulation though remains the same, namely:
- setting rules to establish and apply the voluntary scheme by providing general requirements for the ecolabel criteria;
- developing and revising the criteria;
- outlining the ecolabel application process;
- controlling the use of the ecolabel;
- indicating the scope of products that can carry the label.
Herbert's Shadowy environmental secret
Published: 01 May 2010
Attempts by the Tories to boost their green credentials have been attacked this month, after it emerged that the man who would be Environment Secretary in a Conservative government is fighting to stop the construction of two recycling plants in his constituency.
The Conservatives have promised to push Britain towards a “goal of a zero-waste society.” However, the shadow Environment Secretary, Nick Herbert is opposing the construction of two major facilities in his Arundel and South Downs constituency, claiming that they are the “right idea in the wrong place.”
Mr Herbert has written to West Sussex Council arguing that the “rural character of the South Downs and surrounding countryside and villages must be protected.” His battle against the developments also appear to contradict a second Tory manifesto pledge to reduce landfill and encourage alternative forms of waste disposal. He is siding with residents who are trying to block a plan to convert a sawmill into a state-of-the-art plant capable of recycling 75,000 tonnes of waste a year.
Mr Herbert has argued that the Focus Recycling site is too close to a village. He is also opposing a new composting facility, proposed by the firm Olus Environmental, stating that it is planned for a site at the foot of the South Downs.
Hilary Benn, the Environment Secretary said, “Nick Herbert says that he is a big supporter of recycling, but it seems that this does not extend to giving his backing to recycling facilities in his own constituency. David Cameron has tried to change the Tories’ image by talking up his green credentials, but it is clear that beyond the photo shoots with huskies they haven’t changed a bit.” Mr Herbert defended his opposition to the sites by claiming more sensible locations should be found for them. “There is no environmental gain if we damage an area of exceptional beauty and the tranquillity of a local community.”
All go on Kyoto?
Published: 01 May 2010
The UK has proposed a new twin-track climate deal this month to end the stalemate which has affected international talks on global warming since the failed Copenhagen climate conference last December. In a policy u-turn, the Climate and Energy Secretary Ed Miliband announced that the Government would agree to an extension of the current international climate treaty, the Kyoto Protocol – something developing countries have insisted on but which has so far been rejected by the UK and the European Union.
Mr Miliband said the UK would accept a renewed Kyoto alongside the entirely new, legally binding global deal it has been pursuing. In effect there could be two separate international climate treaties, covering emissions cuts by different countries. The move seems likely to put pressure on China, one of the countries which blocked agreement at Copenhagen and now one of the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter, to join a comprehensive new climate arrangement covering the whole world.
Despite China’s stubbornness at the talks in Denmark, it was UK and EU insistence on abandoning the 1997 Kyoto Treaty which was the immediate cause of the talks’ breakdown. In the end a limited agreement, the “Copenhagen Accord” was put together during the final day, but it fell short of the legally binding global warming treaty which has been the original objective.
In announcing that the UK would accept a renewal of Kyoto, Mr Miliband was in effect starting the climate talks all over again. He commented, “We are interested in trying to break the deadlock and find ways through some of the issues raised in Copenhagen. We do not want to let a technical argument about whether we have one treaty or two derail the process. We are determined to show flexibility as long as there is no undermining of environmental principles.”
New building legislation
Published: 15 Apr 2010
The new Building Regulations SI 2010/2214 apply to England and Wales and revoke and replace the Building Regulations SI 2000/2531 in order to bring together all the subsequent changes which have been made to them into one piece of legislation. This should make reading and referring to the Regulations easier.
The Regulations aim to ensure the health, safety, welfare and convenience of people in and around buildings, as well as their water and energy efficiency, by imposing requirements on those carrying out building work. They largely contain the same provisions as the previous Regulations, however they update them by:
- simplifying the definition of "rooms for residential purposes";
- removing the requirement, where building work involves inserting insulation into a cavity wall, to submit a statement about the proposed insulating material;
- adding three new types of work that can be carried out under the self-certification scheme;
- revising the list of bodies which are able to register people for self-certification purposes.
The Regulations also set out the procedures for the control of building work by local authorities. A similar building control system for regulating the private sector is established by the Building (Approved Inspectors etc) Regulations SI 2010/2215.