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EU Referendum: what next?
Published: 25 Jun 2016

The referendum, announced early this morning, sets in motion an historical event - withdrawal from the European Union.

These are major changes, which certainly will not take place overnight.

EU legislation is tied to UK legislation intrinsically, which means our Government will be very busy sifting through the archives, considering, repealing, replacing and rewriting UK legislation to reflect the new position of the UK. It is a task which will take much time, years in fact.

Cedrec is the best place to stay updated with these changes as they come along. The new legislation, the old legislation and everything in between, will be analysed by our team of legal authors and consultants so we can continue to deliver our Plain English legislation to make understanding and complying with these huge changes easy.

In the case of safety law, much may stay the same. The UK's Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 is one of the most successful pieces of Health and Safety legislation in the world, and it is not EU in origin. Much environmental legislation, however, implements EU legislation based on the European Communities Act 1972. This legislation would be abolished under proposed changes proposed by the Vote Leave campaign. It would mean a large amount of amendments to environmental legislation, in order to change the enabling legislation over from EU to UK, and large amounts of EU legislation being removed completely.

How will Cedrec keep you updated?

You can trust that Cedrec will be making sure both legislation and our working document, Process of withdrawing from the European Union, are updated as changes come through, keeping you informed.

Our January 2017 Legislation Update Roadshow will this time focus on what the Brexit means for you and your company, and we're already close to finalising dates and venues. So keep an eye on our Events page, as its more crucial than ever before that you come along and keep on top of things.

In the meantime, follow Cedrec on Twitter @cedrec_news, and subscribe to our monthly bulletins for updates in our four sectors of speciality; planning, energy, environment and safety.

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A farmer has been fined for pollution caused by a slurry which stretched over 6km through a town, and as it went, killed at least 1 700 fish in a nearby river.

The river in Frome was polluted by a slurry lagoon at Bollow Farm where it was overflowing into a ditch from an underground chamber that had not been fully sealed off.

A spillage from a slurry pumping operation days before also entered the same ditch, escalating the situation.

People in the local community were shocked and upset by the sight of fish dying and anglers, kayakers and swimmers, had to suspend activities.

Once alerted, the Environment Agency attempted to save the fish by spraying hydrogen peroxide to restore dissolved oxygen levels in the water.

The Environment Agency classified the incident as the worst kind, category one, which includes effecting the water course for more than 6km and being obvious to the naked eye.

The officer from the Environment Agency in charge, Andy Grant said:

"Our role as a regulator is to protect people and the environment and support sustainable growth. We work with business owners to create better places but when avoidable incidents like this happen, we take action.

Informing us of the initial spillage and keeping an eye on nearby watercourses are two simple actions the farmer could have taken which would have sped up our investigation and stopped the cause of the pollution sooner.

Last November we restocked 5,500 fish including chub, roach and bream at two locations in Frome and we continue working with our partners including the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust, Frome Town Council, farmers and landowners to identify opportunities to enhance and protect the River Frome."

Supermarket giants Tesco have been fined £8 million for polluting a river with around 23,500 litres of unleaded petrol in 29 hours.

Tesco pleaded guilty to the pollution offence, which happened in Lancashire, in July 2014.

The incident led to the deaths of over 40 fish, including species such as brown trout, found less than 2 miles from the petrol pollution entry point, and anglers reported more dead fish in Bury, over six miles downstream.

The Environment Agency, Lancashire County Council, United Utilities, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and the Lancashire Police were all involved in the emergency clean up.

Odours from the pollution also caused nearby residents to leave their homes.

An investigation by the Environment Agency found the incident resulted from Tesco's failure to address problems with part of the fuel delivery system and an inadequate alarm system, made worse by poor emergency procedures.

The fine of £8 million is a total of a £5 million fine for a health and safety offence under the Health and Safety at Work Act etc 1974, for failings under the Dangerous Substances and Explosives Atmospheres Regulations SI 2002/2776, and £3 million for the environmental offence.

ILO unhappy with ISO 45001 draft
Published: 16 Jun 2017

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has voiced its dissatisfaction with the current draft of ISO 45001, claiming there is "further work to be done" to make sure that it meets international labour standards.

Balloting on the second draft of ISO 45001 began on 19 May, after the first draft failed to gain the necessary 75% support from the 69 participating national standards bodies.

Nancy Leppink, chief of the ILO's labour administration, labour inspection and health and safety branch, said that while "significant progress" has been made in addressing the shortcomings of the first draft, there "continues to be areas where the ILO believes that further work needs to be done to resolve the final gaps in the ILO’s concern".

When asked about these gaps, Leppink commented, "International labour standards are clear about certain things; for example the engagement, through consultation and participation, of workers and that should be well articulated within the standard". Other areas of concern include:

  • compliance with the law;
  • collective bargaining agreements;
  • the concept of the "hierarchy of controls" in the standard;
  • the definition of "workers";
  • personal protective equipment; and
  • training.

PC 283, the central committee drafting the standard for the ISO, will meet again on 18-23 September to decide whether a final draft is required. If all goes to plan, the finished standard could be published in the Autumn. If not, a final draft known as an FDIS may be required, meaning the final standard is likely to be published in February 2018.

As the number of people who are expected to make the switch from traditional petrol or diesel powered vehicles to cleaner and greener electric vehicles increases, there is a growing concern that British cities are not prepared to accommodate them.

Current sales of pure electric and plug-in hybrid cars are growing year on year, and research suggests that this trend is expected to continue with up to 18% of motorists planning to switch to electric cars over the next two years. However, the current network of publicly available charging points is not sufficient enough to deal with any such increase in demand, with cities such as London, Manchester, and Liverpool all expected to fall short in the number of charging points unless action is taken.

There is also concern that a significant increase in electric vehicles could also place extra demand on the UK's national grid, with the need for electricity to charge vehicles contributing to the pressure already seen during peak times when demand is at its highest. One way to mitigate this would be to use smart technology that only starts charging the vehicle outside of peak times. This would require some significant investment in the existing stock of charging points as they do not currently have any such smart technology installed.

With the UK committing to a non-binding target of a 30% market share for electric vehicles by 2030, it is hoped that by identifying these issues early, any barriers to future ownership of electric vehicles can be overcome by igniting a national debate on how best to manage the UK's demand for energy, as well as facilitating future growth, from this market.

The horrific events recently seen in London, where a fire at the Grenfell Tower block resulted in multiple fatalities, has led to a number of local authorities in the London area to carry out urgent reviews of their fire safety. In addition to the PM Theresa May ordering a public enquiry into the disaster, councils in the City of Westminster, and the London boroughs of Camden, Croydon, Ealing, Redbridge, Newham, and Southwark will all be carrying out stringent reviews into the safety of their tower blocks and flats.

The urgent review process is not just confined to the London area. A number of Scottish local authorities are taking extra precautions to reassure its residents that their buildings are safe. Due to building standards being a devolved issue, Nicola Sturgeon, speaking at First Minister's Questions, has said that a ministerial group will convene to carry out a full review of the current Scottish regulations. Health trusts in Northern Ireland have also moved to undertake a full review of their fire safety, with a number of hospitals undergoing an immediate assessment of fire safety precautions.

Investigations into establishing exactly what caused the tragic events to unfold are ongoing and are expected to take a considerable amount of time.

 


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