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The first batch of proposed legislation for the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee to consider have been published.

These proposed Statutory Instruments (SIs) are the start of a series of proposed legislative changes that will be necessary for when the UK leaves the European Union on "exit day". Prior to being implemented into law, these SIs will pass through the newly established Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committees. Each House will have its own designated Committees.

The Committees will be taking up the role of "sifting" through proposed negative instruments following the passing of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 gives Ministers wide powers to make Regulations to deal with the deficiencies in retained EU law which will result from the UK's withdrawal from the EU. It allows them a choice of procedure and most Regulations will first be laid as "proposed negative instruments", which after a "sifting" process, will be laid as SIs.

The process

How the process will work:

  • Ministers will propose negative instruments for consideration;
  • the Committees will have 10 days, starting the day after the proposed negative instrument is laid to scrutinise the proposed legislation and make their recommendations;
  • if either Committee recommends a proposed negative instrument should be upgraded to an affirmative procedure, the Minister may either accept or reject the recommendation, and if rejected give a written statement explaining why;
  • any instruments recommended for upgrade will be listed online.

What are negative instruments?

Negative instruments are made by a Minister before they are laid before Parliament, and they come into force generally 21 days after being laid.

To prevent a negative instrument coming into force or remaining in force, a motion to annul it has to be agreed by the Parliament in the Chamber no later than 40 days after the instrument was laid. If no such motion is made, the instrument automatically becomes law.

This process is different to the affirmative procedure where an instrument will usually first be presented in draft format and will not come into force until it has been approve by Parliament.

The current proposed negative statutory instruments relevant to health, safety and environmental legislation are the:

Published statutory instruments

As time goes on, the negative instruments will be laid before Parliament and then passed into law. The following list shows the confirmed statutory instruments that will come into force on exit day, which is 29 March 2019 at 11pm:

  • Vehicle Drivers (Certificates of Professional Competence) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1004;
  • Timber and Timber Products and FLEGT (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1025;
  • Seal Products (Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1034;
  • Feed-in Tariffs and Contracts for Difference (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1092;
  • Electricity (Guarantees of Origin of Electricity Produced from Renewable Energy Sources) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1093;
  • Merchant Shipping (Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of Carbon Dioxide Emissions) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1388;
  • Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1120;
  • Rail Passengers’ Rights and Obligations (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/1165;
  • Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1202;
  • Merchant Shipping (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1221;
  • Environmental Assessments and Miscellaneous Planning (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1232;
  • Planning (Hazardous Substances and Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1234;
  • Planning (Environmental Assessments and Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) (Northern Ireland) Regulations SI 2018/1235;
  • Ionising Radiation (Basic Safety Standards) (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1278;
  • Electricity and Gas (Powers to Make Subordinate Legislation) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1286;
  • Pipe-lines, Petroleum, Electricity Works and Oil Stocking (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1325;
  • CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1336;
  • INSPIRE (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1338;
  • Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1342;
  • Health and Safety (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1370;
  • Health and Safety (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1377;
  • Marine Environment (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1399;
  • Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) and the Railways (Accident Investigation and Reporting) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1400;
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1405;
  • Air Quality (Miscellaneous Amendment and Revocation of Retained Direct EU Legislation) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1407;
  • Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1408;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/9;
  • Fisheries (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/24;
  • Ionising Radiation (Environmental and Public Protection) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/24;
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/25;
  • Environment (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) Regulations SSI 2019/26;
  • Drainage (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/31;
  • Water and Floods (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/32;
  • Renewables Obligation (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/35;
  • Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/39;
  • Marine Environment (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/55;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/57;
  • Air Quality (Amendment of Domestic Regulations) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/74;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (England) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/88;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/90;
  • Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/94;
  • Control of Mercury (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/96;
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/107;
  • Pesticides (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/118;
  • Water (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/112;
  • Radioactive Contaminated Land (Modification of Enactments) (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/114;
  • Marketing of Seeds and Plant Propagating Material (Amendment) (England and Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/131;
  • Export Control (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/137;
  • Transfrontier Shipment of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/156;
  • Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/188;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/190;
  • Metrology, Health and Safety and Product Safety (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/202;
  • Invasive Non-native Species (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/223;
  • Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/244;
  • Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes and the Environmental Impact Assessment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/245;
  • Environmental Noise (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/247;
  • Merchant Shipping (Recognised Organisations) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/270;
  • Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/271;
  • Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/273;
  • Ship Recycling (Facilities and Requirements for Hazardous Materials on Ships) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/277;
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/279;
  • Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases and Ozone-Depleting Substances (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/281;
  • Environmental Protection (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/289;
  • Pesticides and Fertilisers (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/306;
  • Merchant Shipping and Other Transport (Environmental Protection) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/311;
  • Railways (Interoperability) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/345;
  • Fisheries and Marine Management (Amendment) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/370;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release and Transboundary Movement) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/379;
  • Air Quality Standards (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/390;
  • Waste (Wales) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/414;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/451;
  • Construction Products (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/465;
  • Environment and Wildlife (Legislative Functions) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/473.

We will keep this page updated with all the latest developments and proposed negative statutory instruments so you can keep track of any upcoming changes.

The UK has finally "agreed" on and published their Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community.

This details the terms reached by the European Commission and UK negotiators on the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community.

The Agreement covers all elements of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, including:

  • a transition period;
  • citizen's rights;
  • the financial settlement;
  • governance;
  • terms of a legally operational backstop to ensure no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland;
  • Protocols on Cyprus and Gibraltar,

and a range of other separation issues including goods placed on the European market.

Transition period

The Agreement provides for a transition period until 31 December 2020. During this proposed period:

  • EU law will continue to apply to the UK as if it were an EU Member State;
  • the UK will participate in the EU Customs Union and the Single Market, with all four freedoms, and Union Policies;
  • all EU regulatory, budgetary, judiciary and enforcement instruments will apply, meaning the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will have competence in the UK.

It is intended that this transition period will provide:

  • the UK and EU with time to negotiate a future relationship; and
  • national administrations and businesses with time to prepare for a new relationship.

During this period, the UK can't be bound by any new trade agreements on its own in areas of EU exclusive competence, unless authorised by the EU to do so.

On the withdrawal date, 11pm on 29 March 2019, the UK will have technically left the EU and so will no longer be a part of EU decision making from that point. This means the UK will not be represented in EU institutions, agencies and bodies, and will no longer participate in meetings of Member State groups, subject to exceptions.

During the transition period the UK can't act as a rapporteur for European authorities or Member States, this includes activities such as conducting a risk assessment for the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) or assessing the safety of a medicine.

An area of contention in particular in UK Parliament was around fisheries. Until the transition period ends, the UK will be bound by decisions on fishing opportunities. However the UK will be consulted on its fishing opportunities.

Extension of a transition period

There is the possibility to extend the transition period providing that this is done by mutual UK and EU agreement and decided by the Joint Committee by 1 July 2020.

The UK may request additional time to ensure a future agreement is made with the EU.

International agreements

During the transition period, the UK will be bound by obligations from all EU international agreements, including multilateral mixed agreements.

After the Withdrawal Agreement is signed the EU will notify other parties to international agreements of the consequences of the UK's withdrawal and will cover all international agreements. 

Common provisions

The provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement must have the same legal effects in the UK as in the EU and its Member States.

Until the end of the transition period when the UK leaves the EU, UK courts must abide by the principle of consistent interpretation with the CJEU case law. After this date UK courts should still pay regard to CJEU case law.

Specifically, the Agreement requires the UK to ensure compliance with the common provisions through domestic legislation, with the UK judicial and administrative authorities disapplying inconsistent or incompatible national law. 

Any reference to European law in the Withdrawal Agreement includes amendments made to it up until the last day of the transition period.

Unless specifically agreed otherwise, the UK will be disconnected from all EU networks and databases at the end of the transition period.

Citizen's rights

The Agreement safeguards the right to stay and continue their current activities for over 3 million EU citizens in the UK, and over 1 million UK nationals in EU countries.

It enables both EU citizens and UK nationals, as well as their respective family members, to continue to exercise their rights derived from EU law in each other's territories, for the rest of their lives, where those rights are based on life choices made before the end of the transition period.

EU and UK citizens, as well as their respective family members can continue to live, work or study as they currently do under the same substantive conditions as under EU law, benefiting in full from the application of the prohibition of any discrimination on grounds of nationality and of the right to equal treatment compared to host state nationals.

EU free movement will apply until the end of the transition period, after this EU and UK citizens will be able to remain and work or study in the UK or EU state.

Goods placed on the market

Goods lawfully placed on the market in the EU or the UK before the end of the transition period may continue to freely circulate in and between these two markets, until they reach their end-users, without any need for product modifications or re-labelling. This means that goods that will still be in the distribution chain at the end of the transition period can reach their end-users in the EU or the UK without having to comply with any additional product requirements.

However the movement of live animals and animal products between the EU market and the UK's market will, as from the end of the transition period, be subject to the applicable rules of the Parties on imports and sanitary controls at the border, regardless of whether they were placed on the market before the end of the transition period.

Euratom

The UK withdraws from Euratom and accepts sole responsibility for continued performance of nuclear safeguards and its international commitment to a future regime that provides coverage and effectiveness equivalent to existing Euratom arrangements. 

Euratom will transfer ownership of equipment and other property in the UK related to safeguards for which it will be compensated at book value to the UK.

This also means Euratom's international agreements will no longer apply to the UK and that the UK needs to engage with international partners in that context.

Ongoing judicial procedures

The CJEU will remain competent for judicial procedures concerning the UK registered at the CJEU before the end of the transition period, and those procedures will continue until a final binding judgment is given in accordance with EU rules. All stages of proceedings are concerned, including appeals or referrals back to the General Court. This allows for pending cases to reach completion in an orderly way.

Within four years from the end of the transition period, the Commission may bring before the CJEU new infringement cases against the UK, concerning breaches of Union law which occurred before the end of the transition period.

Financial settlement

The UK will honour its share of financing all the obligations undertaken while it was a member of the Union, in relation to the EU budget, the European Investment Bank, the European Central Bank, the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, EU Trust Funds, Council agencies and also the European Development Fund.

Environmental protection

The Agreement states a commitment to non-regression in the level of environmental protection in both the EU and the UK. It states that the UK will continue to respect the:

  • precautionary principle;
  • principle that preventive action should be taken;
  • principle that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source; and
  • polluter pays principle,

in environmental legislation.

The Joint Committee will adopt decisions that will apply from the end of the transition period and establish minimum commitments for:

  • the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants;
  • the maximum sulphur content of marine fuels which may be used in territorial seas including in the North Sea, Baltic Sea area and in EU and UK ports;
  • best available techniques including emission limit values, in relation to industrial emissions.

Both the UK and the EU:

  • must take the necessary measures to meet their respective commitments to international agreements to address climate change;
  • reaffirm their commitment to implement the multilateral agreements they are are party to.

The UK must implement a system of carbon pricing at least the same effectiveness and scope as that set out in Directive 2003/87/EC on scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community (EU Emissions Trading Scheme).

An independent body in the UK must implement a transparent system to ensure effective domestic monitoring, reporting and oversight of its environmental protection obligations. This body must have powers to conduct inquiries concerning alleged breaches by public bodies and UK authorities.

Labour and social standards

The Agreement states a commitment to the non-regression of labour and social standards in both the EU and the UK. This includes ensuring:

  • fundamental rights at work;
  • occupational health and safety;
  • fair working conditions;
  • employment standards;
  • information and consultation rights at company level,

do not reduce below the common standards at the EU and UK level.

Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland

One of the key issues in withdrawal negotiations has been the prevention of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and the so-called 'backstop'.

If an agreement on the future EU-UK relationship is not applicable by 31 December 2020, the EU and the UK have agreed that a backstop solution will apply until such a time as a subsequent agreement is in place.

In a backstop scenario, a single EU-UK customs territory will be established from the end of the transition period until the future relationship becomes applicable. Northern Ireland will therefore remain part of the same customs territory as the rest of the UK with no tariffs, quotas, or checks on rules of origin between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Negotiations on the future EU-UK relationship will only be conducted during the transition period, consequently this legally operational backstop guarantees that no hard border returns – whatever the circumstances.

What next?

It is up to the President of the European Council to decide whether and when to convene a meeting of the 27 Heads of State or Government. This has currently been announced by Donald Tusk for 25 November 2018. It will be up to the European Council to endorse the withdrawal agreement and the joint political declaration on the framework of the future relationship.

Once the European Council endorse the Withdrawal Agreement, and before it can enter into force, it needs to be ratified by the EU and the UK. For the EU, this means the European Council must authorise the signature, before sending it to the European Parliament for its consent.

The United Kingdom must ratify the Agreement according to its own constitutional arrangements. This will mean any Agreement will need to pass a Parliamentary vote.

For more information, see the:

Cadbury's new campaign for a "real treasure hunt" has been temporarily suspended after a massive outcry from archaeologists who said that the advert "encourages illegal excavation and looting".

In one of its latest campaigns, the chocolate giant encouraged children to "grab a metal detector" and dig holes and look for hidden treasures such as silver and gold coins, in heritage sites and protected locations. It might sound innocent, however there are certain legal requirements to "hunting real treasures" that must be met.

The first issue is trespassing - anyone who wishes to carry out metal detecting on land must obtain permission to do so from the owner of the land. Once permission is obtained, detecting and excavating must be done in an orderly manner.

Secondly, on the majority of protected sites such as Scheduled Monuments, Sites of Special Scientific Interests (SSSIs), or land owned by the Ministry of Defence, metal detecting is prohibited without permission of the appropriate authority. There also might be certain agri-environmental arrangements in place that require special permissions and reporting of findings when metal detecting.

Lastly, the Treasure Act 1996 requires treasures of certain specification (such as old Roman or Viking treasures that were the subject of the Cadbury's hunt) must be reported to the coroner and cannot be kept without permission. Anyone who fails to comply with these requirements is guilty of an offence and might be subject to a fine or even three months imprisonment.

Archaeologists and scientists argue that through this ill-advised campaign, Cadbury could have reversed the decades spent trying to promote responsible engagement with archaeological sites. Some even branded the campaign as "theft of cultural heritage".

Metal detecting can be a great hobby if carried out responsibly, it also often helps to discover new archaeological sites. By following the guidelines set out by the National Council for Metal Detecting and making sure detecting is appropriately planned, permission obtained and significant findings reported, metal detecting can at times provide great findings.

For more information on this subject, see:

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced a £3 billion Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme in the Spring Statement last week, as well as money for the Borderlands Growth Deal.

He listed the work the Government is doing to raise the level of housebuilding and deliver infrastructure, including the "largest" investment in roads and £37 billion National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF).

Although, all extra funding that could be provided for housing and other sectors, will depend on an "orderly" Brexit, where a deal with the EU has been agreed upon before the departure.

Affordable homes

Housing associations in England will be able to borrow £3 billion through the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme to support the delivery of 30,000 affordable homes.

Hammond stated £717 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF), which totals £5.5 billion, will be used to create up to 37,000 homes at several sites, including at Old Oak Common in London, the Oxfordshire-Cambridge Arc and in Chesire.

The Oxfordshire-Cambridge Arc will also receive £445 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to help create more than 22,000 homes.

These measures all aim to help the Government with its commitment to build 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s.

Hammond added that the Spring Statement builds on commitments in the 25-year environment plan; the Industrial Strategy and the Clean Growth Strategy to ensure that wildlife is not compromised when delivering infrastructure and housing. He said the Government will mandate net gains for biodiversity on new developments in England to deliver an overall increase in biodiversity.

Growth deals

The Chancellor said up to £260 million would go towards the Borderlands Growth Deal. The Scottish Government has announced that the Government would invest up to £85 million over 10 years into the Borderlands as part of the deal.

This is alongside the announcement that allocated £102 million for the Carlisle Southern Link Road from the HIF. The support of which follows the signing of an agreement at the beginning of March for an Ayrshire Growth Deal. The UK Government is to invest £103 million over the next 15 months. The Scottish Government would match this, with regional partners taking the total to more than £250 million.

Projects include:

  • £80 million investment "to position" Ayrshire as one of the UK's leading centres of aerospace;
  • £23 million to build Ayrshire's history of manufacturing;
  • £24 million to help harness the potential of local energy generation. £18 million will go towards the creation of a Centre for Research into low-carbon energy at the Hunterston industrial hub;
  • £14 million to improve the region's digital connectivity and infrastructure.

A ministerial statement published alongside the Spring Statement details that £60 million would be invested in 10 English cities from the Transforming Cities Fund. This will go to 30 schemes, including upgrades to bus stations, new cycle lanes and road improvements.

The cities that will receive funding includes:

  • Derby and Nottingham, £7.2 million;
  • Leicester, £7.8 million;
  • Portsmouth, £4 million;
  • Sheffield City Region, £4.2 million;
  • West Yorkshire Combined Authority, £2.2 million;
  • Southampton, £5.7 million;
  • North East Combined Authority, £10 million;
  • Norwich, £6.1 million;
  • Plymouth, £7.6 million;
  • Stoke-on-Trent, £5.6 million.

Hammond also noted that progress is being made on growth deals for Mid Wales and Derry/Londonderry.

Planning

The Chancellor's ministerial statement says the Government will, in the coming months, introduce a "package of reforms" that will allow greater change of use between premises and a new permitted development right that will see buildings extended upwards to create new homes.

A green paper will be published on how "greater capacity and capability, performance management and procedural improvements can accelerate the end-to-end planning process".

Reactions

The Spring Statement has received mixed reactions.

President of the RTPI Ian Tant noted there are some "useful measures" like the Affordable Homes Guarantee and the ending of fossil fuels heating homes by 2025, but "the state of finance in local authorities, especially local planning capacity, is a real worry and, sadly, there is nothing in the statement today to alleviate that".

Planner and MP Helen Hayes said the funding was "pitiful" whilst the National Housing Federation (NHF) has welcomed the £3 billion guarantee scheme, but put emphasis on the need to build more social housing.

For more information, see:

Following an Environment Agency prosecution at Worcester Crown Court this month, a businessman pleaded guilty to three charges relating to the illegal operation of waste sites.

The defendant was sentenced to one year in prison suspended for two years and ordered to pay £30,000 costs.

The businessman operated under the trading names of UKBF Group Ltd and Plastics Recycling Ltd, at the car park for Smethwick Drop Forge Ltd (SDF), land and units at the Gemini Business Park (GEMINI), and Cherry Tree Farm in Stanford Bridge.

The defendant deliberately and over a prolonged period, accepted waste onto each of the three sites. He did so without the necessary environmental permits and in breach of the registered waste exemptions required to ensure there was no risk to human health or to the environment.

He avoided costs relating to the waste activity and failed to produce waste records as required by law, with well known companies as customers.

When Environment Agency officers visited the sites, they found large amounts of assorted types of waste, including hazardous waste, being illegally stored and treated.

Large quantities of plastics contaminated with dairy and wine products were found at the GEMINI and SDF sites, with no measures in place to prevent the liquids from polluting the nearby canal and River Severn. The quantities found could have caused significant harm to the environment, including to fish and invertebrates.

Complaints were received by the Environment Agency about rat, fly and odour problems at the GEMINI site caused by large amounts of food waste waiting, being stored and processed on site. The SDF and GEMINI sites were also deemed to be at high risk of fire by a Fire Community Risk Manager.

Following warnings and an enforcement notice being issued, the defendant gave Environment Agency officers repeated assurances that he would remove the high risk waste types and apply for the necessary Environmental Permit. Waste was moved between the SDF and GEMINI sites, and when the defendant was evicted from the GEMINI site, it was then moved to Cherry Tree Farm.

The defendant eventually abandoned the waste filled sites. The landowners are continuing to work with the Environment Agency, and the companies from where the waste originated, to clear the site.

Speaking after the case, an Environment Agency spokesperson said "waste crime is a serious offence with tough penalties as it can damage the environment, blight local communities and undermine those who operate legally. This case sends out a clear message that we will not hesitate to take action to ensure the protection of the environment and avoid harm to health. Businesses can support us with this by carrying out their Duty of Care and Due Diligence checks to ensure that they are using legitimate companies to deal with their wastes and not criminals...".

The Environment Agency has published a new economic assessment to aid planning for flooding and coastal risk management over the next 50 years.

The Study uses new data on climate change, population and mapping to set out potential future scenarios, and to assess how funding could be best allocated to meet these challenges.

The Report states that without sustained investment, future flood damage to properties and infrastructure in England will significantly increase. It estimates an average annual investment of £1 billion will be necessary up to 2065.

The overall benefit to cost ratio of the new estimates is nine to one, which means for every £1 spent on protecting communities, around £9 in property damages and wider impacts would be avoided.

A full range of climate change scenarios demonstrates that a number of measures are needed to ensure that communities are resilient over the next 50 years. These include:

  • building and maintaining large-scale engineered defences;
  • natural flood management techniques such as planting trees;
  • slowing the flow of water and property flood resilience for homes.

The findings also provide evidence for planning authorities and developers. Current planning policy and implementation limit the impact on flood risk, but investments and planning decisions will be vital to keep pace with population growth and climate change.

Julia Foley, Director Flood Strategy at the Environment Agency stated: "this report sets out the level of investment we need to consider over the next 50 years alongside the action we need to take to ensure that communities, businesses and vital infrastructure are resilient to flooding and coastal erosion".

"The scenarios are a key evidence base to inform our Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, due later this year, and will help government, businesses and the insurance industry plan for the future".

The Reports findings highlight the importance of continued investment to protect infrastructure including transport and utility networks, 41% of which are located in areas which are at risk of flooding.

The impact of flooded infrastructure can be more extensive than the immediate water damage, impacting on supply chains, travel and access to key services like hospitals and schools. The National Flood Resilience Review sets out how the Government is working with utility companies, regulators and others to implement long-term resilience plans. 

The Environment Agency is investing £2.6 billion in flood and coastal erosion risk management projects between 2015 and 2021, helping to protect 300,000 homes. Later this year, the Agency will consult on its new Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy, which sets out the long term vision for a nation more resilient to flooding and coastal change.

For more on this subject, see:


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