Single environmental body met with scepticism
Published: 28 Nov 2011
Proposals by the Welsh Government to merge three separate environmental organisations into one Single Environmental Body (SEB) has received severe criticism from the forestry sector amid concerns that its interests will be "trampled underfoot".
Civil servants have been preparing a business plan detailing how the Welsh Government would amalgamate the Environment Agency in Wales, the Countryside Council for Wales and the Forestry Commission Wales into a single body which would deal with all environmental issues.
The plan states that a single environmental body would mean better delivery on environmental issues, combined expertise and better value for money. However, the forestry employers' group Confor claims that a single environmental body could be open to accusations of collusion on economic developments.
The example Confor gives is that the Forestry Commission Wales has a programme to develop a number of wind farms, but another arm of the future environmental body would need to decide if those proposals are given the green light.
The Woodland Trust in Wales also gave a guarded welcome to the SEB proposal and raised concerns that the strengths of the current environmental bodies might not be carried through to any new agency, which could also suffer from the disruption of work, and the potential loss of key staff and morale.
Health and Safety review due
Published: 25 Nov 2011
It has been announced that the results of the UK's biggest review of health and safety legislation in over a decade will be disclosed by the end of the month.
Professor Ragnar Löfsted, who is carrying out an independent review, will reveal his findings on Monday 28 November. The news was announced during the "Reforming health and safety at work" event, which was held in London. Department for Work and Pensions' chief medical advisor and director for health, work and wellbeing Dr Bill Gunnyeon confirmed the date during his talk about the Government's progress in reforming the health and safety industry's legislation.
He also revealed that more than 2,640 health and safety consultants have now joined the Occupational Safety and Health Consultants' Register (OSHCR). Dr Gunnyeon added, "Whatever we do going forwards has to manage to make sure health and safety legislation doesn't inhibit growth of business."
For more information see:
Radioactive substances NI
Published: 21 Nov 2011
The Radioactive Substances Exemption (Northern Ireland) Order SR 2011/289 revokes and replaces several exemption orders in relation to radioactive substances in order to simplify the current system of exemptions and bring it in line with Directive 96/29/EURATOM, on ionising radiation, which sets out the basic standards for the protection of workers and the general public against the dangers from ionising radiation.
Previously, 18 different documents contained the exemptions in relation to radioactive substances, some of which were first written in the 1960s. This Order brings them all together in a single document. The new regime sets out the exemptions from registration and authorisation in relation to low risk radioactive materials and waste.
Published: 21 Nov 2011
The Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations SI 2011/2043 amends the provisions relating to the regulation of radioactive substances in the Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) Regulations SI 2010/675. They aim to provide a more user-friendly system for those radioactive substances that present a very low risk to people and the environment, while maintaining the necessary level of protection.
This will be achieved by modifying the situations in which permits are required, by amending what is defined as radioactive material or waste and by consolidating and revising the existing exemptions from the requirement to hold a permit.
The main amendments include:
- an extension of the provisions relating to groundwater activities to allow a tracer test involving a radioactive substance to fall within the exemption;
- an amendment to clarify the scope of an exemption from the requirement to hold an environmental permit which applies to certain people who dispose of radioactive waste;
- the inclusion of a transitional period so that those affected by the changes have until 1 April 2012 to apply for a permit;
- a conditional exemption from the requirement to hold an environmental permit with regard to certain radioactive substances;
- the inclusion of carbon dioxide streams for storage purposes into geological formations as a regulated activity, therefore an environmental permit is now required for it; and
- the replacement and update of certain definitions.
Published: 21 Nov 2011
Whenever you pass waste on to someone else, you will have to declare on the waste transfer note, or consignment note for hazardous waste, that you have applied the waste management hierarchy.
You must also include on the waste transfer note the UK Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) 2007 code of the person transferring the waste. You should continue to use the UK Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) 2003 code on hazardous waste consignment notes.
Keep an eye on our Monthly Bulletins for the latest information on all the above subjects.
Published: 16 Nov 2011
This is in order to implement the changes required to comply with the European Commission's opinion that the UK Government has not adequately implemented Directive 83/477/EEC, on the protection of workers from the risks of exposure to asbestos at work.
The proposed changes will mean in the future fewer types of lower risk work will be exempt from the requirements of the Regulations.
Click here to view the proposals.