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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The Neighbourhood Planning Bill has been passed by the House of Lords following its third reading in the House. The Bill now moves into the final stage of consideration known as "ping pong", where it is passed between the House of Commons and the House of Lords until both Houses agree on a final text and pass it on for Royal Assent.

During the third reading, the House of Lords approved some amendments to the Bill which included provisions that:

  • will allow the Secretary of State to make regulations that set out a procedure that the person examining a neighbourhood plan or neighbourhood development order must follow. This includes a power to make examiners provide information to, and to hold meetings with, neighbourhood planning groups;
  • aim to empower local government communities to bring forward settlements of the highest quality, and which seek to ensure that the Government's objectives in bringing forward garden villages, garden towns and garden cities are met and that there are opportunities for small builders.

The Bill now passes back to the House of Commons containing all of the amendments passed by the House of Lords. If the Commons agree to all of the amendments, the Bill will pass into law. If not, the Bill will return to the House of Lords with any modifications made by the House of Commons.

The Bill causing much debate, the proposed European Union (Notification of Withdrawal), has been passed and given Royal Assent.

The new European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 is extremely short, totalling two sections.

It gives the Prime Minister, Theresa May, official and legal power to notify the intention of withdrawal of the UK from the EU.

Mrs May has informed the European Council of the intention to trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union, and begin the withdrawal process, on 29 March 2017.

For more information, see the:

A committee within the United Nations has asked the UK to suspend work on the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station in Somerset, over the Government's failure to consult with European countries.

Last year, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) said that the UK has failed to meet its obligations to discuss the possible impact of an incident at Hinkley on neighbouring countries.

Now, the UNECE has said the UK should "consider refraining" from further works on site.

UNECE has said the Government should wait until it had heard back from countries such as Norway and Germany, on whether it would be helpful for them to be formally notified under a treaty on transboudary environmental impacts.

A spokesperson for EDF, the French state-owned company building Hinkley Point C, commented: "We have carried out all the EIA required for Hinkley Point C, including assessing any likely significant transboundary impacts. In considering the EIA, the UK Planning Inspectorate concluded there was no likelihood of significant transboundary effects."

Furthermore, the spokesperson added that: "The UK Supreme Court has already rejected a challenge from An Taisce which claimed that the Government should have consulted other Member States before making its decision on the development."

The UK Government has yet to respond.

Thames Water has been fined a record £20 million fine from the Environment Agency after pumping nearly 1.5 billion litres of untreated sewage into the River Thames.

Thames Water admitted water pollution, in incidents taking place between 2013 and 2014.

Fish and birds were amongst the various types of wildlife that died following the pollution.

Sewage spilled into nature reserves and further environmental damage was reported in the riverside towns of Henley and Marlow.

Chief executive of Thames Water, Steve Robertson, said he deeply regretted the spills but insisted things at the company had improved since it increased staff in key roles.

The fine must be paid within 21 days.

According to the new research, up to 16% of the oil and gas wells that use hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, spill oil every year.

The study found that over the 10-year period between 2005 and 2014, there had been 6,600 spills that occurred in four US states of New Mexico, Colorado, North Dakota and Pennsylvania. The worst case was reported in North Dakota, where 67% of the spills were recorded, totalling 4,453 reported incidents.

The number of spills recorded is partially a reflection of the reporting requirements set by each state, for example in North Dakota reporting of smaller spills (42 gallons or more) is required, while Colorado and New Mexico the volume of the reportable spill is much larger (210 gallons or more).

The largest spill involved 100,000 litres of fluid released in a single leak. Most spills occurred within the first year of operation, with half of the incidents reported relating to storage and movement of fluids via pipelines. Dr Lauren Patterson from Duke University said: "Equipment failure was the greatest factor, the loading and unloading of trucks with material had a lot more human error than other places."

One of the authors of the paper, Kate Konschnik, said: "Analyses like this one are so important, to define and mitigate risk to water supplies and human health."

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