More changes for civil sanctions
Published: 02 Jan 2013
The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has announced that it intends to limit the application of certain civil sanctions by the Environment Agency and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). The changes will mean that civil sanctions can only be applied to companies with more than 250 employees.
However, enforcement undertakings, stop notices and compliance notices can be used regardless of the size of the company.
The concern is that small businesses would be disproportionately affected by regulatory action than larger companies who would be more able to legally challenge any sanctions applied.
For more information, see the
- Environmental Civil Sanctions (England) Order SI 2010/1157.
New Great Britain packaging targets
Published: 21 Dec 2012
The Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) (Amendment) Regulations SI 2012/3082 will come into force on 11 December 2011.
They amend theáProducer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations SI 2007/871 to include new waste packaging recovery and recycling targets for the years 2012 to 2017. They also include a new set of targets for waste glass packaging for recycling by re-melt for the years 2013 to 2017.
The current targets, including the material specific recycling targets for glass, paper, wood, steel, plastic and aluminium, run until the end of 2012, therefore new targets are required.
Environment Agency and Natural England to merge?
Published: 21 Dec 2012
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said, "TheáEnvironment Agency andáNatural England are both vital in helping to achieve our vision of a healthy environment and a healthy economy. Improving our environment for future generations is one of the great challenges we face as a society and we are committed to the highest levels of environmental protection. This review gives us the chance to take a fresh look at what these bodies do and how they do it in working towards this aim."
The review is part of a rolling programme across Government to examine non-departmental delivery bodies every three years. TheáEnvironment Agency with Natural England have been reviewed separately in the past.
However, The Wildlife Trusts fear that a possible merging of the two bodies will lead to a cut in staff and budgets, threatening key programmes to protect rare species.
Mary Creagh, Shadow Environment Secretary, said the review is just the latest attempt to allow development in the countryside. "Merging theáEnvironment Agency with Natural England, when both are sacking large numbers of staff to deliver Government cuts, will leave strategic weaknesses in our environmental management, as ash dieback has shown. Whether it is planning reforms, or cuts to flood defences and National Parks, this weak and incompetent Tory-led Government has failed every environmental test."
Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscapes at The Wildlife Trusts, saidáNatural England is already struggling to maintain SSSIs. He feared that merging the body witháEnvironment Agency would mean years of concentrating on administration rather than conservation, leaving wildlife at risk of dying out.
"There is a huge risk that if you do collide those organisations together at this point you lose good staff and expertise, you slow things down and you look inwards rather than outwards. Millions of people across the country want the protection and restoration of wildlife. They do not want the continual demise and erosion of natural assets."
For more information, see:
Ash dieback strategy published
Published: 19 Dec 2012
The Government has set out its strategy to tackle the ash dieback disease that is affecting the UK's ash trees. The Chalara Control Plan establishes the Government's objectives for tackling the disease as well as reaffirming their commitment to focus on:
- reducing the rate of spread;
- developing resistance to the disease;
- encouraging citizen, landowner and industry engagement and action in tackling the problem; and
- building resilience in the UK woodland and associated industries.
It is important that the UK's estimated 80 million ash trees are protected as they form a key part of the landscape as well as playing a role in habitats. As the National Trust's Ian Wright highlighted, some flora and fauna are only found on ash trees, such as rare lichens, mosses and wood boring insects.
The Government have already implemented some measures to reduce the speed of the spread, including banning the importation of ash trees and the movement of such trees around the country.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson said, "While the science tells us it won’t be possible to eradicate this disease, we mustn’t give up on British ash. The plan I have set out today shows our determination to slow the spread and minimise the impact of Chalara."
However, the plan has been criticised by the National Trust, which currently looks after 61,776 acres of woodland and forest. Dr Simon Pryor, the National Trust's Director of the Natural Environment, criticised "the limited actions and weak commitments" as "far too little, too late".
The Trust believes that the Government should significantly increase its commitments before the March publication of the updated plans.
For more information, see the:
- Interim Chalara Control Plan, available at: http://cedr.ec/jx.
Cedrec will be closed for Christmas!
Published: 17 Dec 2012
Although we love legislation at Cedrec, we still need a little break over the festive period!
So we'll be closed from lunchtime on Friday 21 December 2012 right through until Wednesday 2 January 2013. But rest assured, by then we'll be itching to get back to it...
Have a great Christmas from everyone here, and we'll see you in the new year!
Power station environmental credentials not cool
Published: 13 Dec 2012
A new power station in Pembroke, which cost ú1bn, could be forced to change its cooling system as the technology used may breach environmental law. A leaked document suggested the EuropeanáCommission had sent a notice of infringement to the UK, listing 18 violations of four separate environmental laws.
The violations include concerns on assessing environmental impacts, protecting habitats, the use of nitrates and controlling pollution.
Joe Hennon, environment spokesman for the European Commission, said, "The cooling system that they're using in this plant is what we're really concerned about. It takes water in at one end and pumps it out at the other and it raises the temperature of the water by about eight degrees when it comes out into the estuary. It takes in potentially millions of fish and other forms of life and they inject biocides into the water as well."
Research suggests that the amount of water extracted to cool the five turbines would impinge on one million adult fish in a three-week period, as well as three to four billion smaller fish and shellfish every year.
Although RWE npower's chief operating officer Kevin McCullogh said in May that the best technology has been used at the power station, Mr Hennon claims that the cheapest option was chosen.
Mr Hennon said, "It's up to the UK to tell us now what they intend to do about it."
For more information, see: