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.

For more information, see the:

Green belt is asset
Published: 22 Feb 2017

Professor Dieter Helm, chair of the Natural Capital Committee, has said that the green belt should be preserved and treated as natural capital. Speaking in a personal capacity at the "Green Belt of the Future" seminar, Professor Helm talked about observing "decades of an almost entirely fruitless debate between people who think that the economy is on one side of the debate and the environment on the other."

He explained that natural capital encompasses the idea that the environment "is a set of assets in overlapping ecosystems that are just as important as any other assets in the economy."

Professor Helm's seminar comes a few weeks after the Government released its housing white paper, "Fixing our broken housing market" which, amongst other things, aims to address the housing shortage in the UK; something which some fear may see increased building on the green belt despite the fact that the paper aims to "maintain existing strong protections for the Green Belt".

At the same event, Janet Askew, director of academic engagement and enhancement at the University of West England, said that London shows how successful a compact city can be, and therefore "The green belt is a sustainable policy and it works."

However, both the white paper and advice from the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) suggests that in extreme cases, green belt boundaries may have to be changed, but, as the RTPI says, "only through careful reviews over wider areas than single local authorities, and where safeguards are put in place to ensure that development is sustainable, affordable and deliverable in a timely manner, and without prejudice to the renewal of brownfield land".

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has committed £10m to 100 organisations across Scotland to support climate change actions.

The announcement has been made at R:evolve Recycle shop, which is a clothing swap shop aiming to reduce the textile waste. The shop is one of the organisations receiving the fund and has just been awarded a further £143,416. 

The Climate Change Fund for 2017-18 is £9.97m. Scottish Government contributes £9.9m while the European Regional Development Fund contributes £0.88m to this fund. Since the fund started, over £85m has been awarded to support actions tackling the climate change. 

Sturgeon said: "Scotland is making huge progress in delivering our climate change ambitions, but there is still much to achieve and the role of behaviour change and community action is crucial. The Climate Change Fund supports community projects that inspire people to care about the problem of climate change, consider what it might mean to them in terms of their everyday lives and enable them to take action."

Chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, Iain Gulland, said: "Scotland's ambitions for a circular economy, where we make things last for longer, go hand in hand with its world-leading commitments to tackling climate change. Thanks to extra investment from the European Regional Development Fund, we're now able to help more communities across Scotland take action locally to benefit Scotland's environment."

On 2 February 2017 the Cardiff County Court handed down a landmark judgement, regarding Japanese Knotweed, that can have major implications for landowners and home owners across the UK and could cost Network Rail and other landowners millions.

Two next-door neighbours successfully sued Network Rail for the damages caused by the plant to their houses after it got into the foundations of their homes. this case opened the floodgates of claims against the landowners, totalling tens of millions of pounds. The Japanese Knotweed has been described by the Environment Agency as "indisputably the UK's most aggressive, destructive and invasive plant", which can grow up to four metres in just 10 weeks. The roots of the plant can spread up to seven metres horizontally and can compromise the structures of buildings.

Neighbours Robin Waistell and Stephen Williams have been fighting Network Rail for years after becoming "trapped" by Knotweed at their homes in Maesteg. It has been explained, that they could not sell their properties, because banks and building societies would not give mortgages on properties with Knotweed. The plant is able to force its way through concrete, brick and tarmac and it is extremely difficult to get rid of. Despite the fact it is such a serious problem for the home owners, the law surrounding Knotweed and property owners' responsibilities to their neighbours has been the subject of very judicial guidance, until now.

The judgement recognised three types of nuisance: encroachment with no physical damage, encroachment with physical damage and loss of enjoyment. The judge discussed, that mere presence of Knotweed on an adjoining property was capable of causing nuisance and reducing the property's market value.

In relation to this decision, Network Rail is now considering going to the High Court to get this decision overturned. The overall cost of the trial is estimated at £250,000 but the costs may escalate if Network Rail decides to fight the ruling.

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London has said that from October this year, the owners of more polluting cars will have to pay extra charge for driving within the congestion charge zone in central London.

The £10 charge will apply from 23 October 2017 and will affect up to 10,000 owners of the oldest, most polluting vehicles that do not meet Euro 4 standards, typically those diesel and petrol vehicles registered before 2006. The charge will operate on top of the congestion charge which means affected drivers will have to pay £21.50 a day to drive a pre-Euro 4 vehicle in the centre London between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday.

Mr Khan also launched an online vehicle checker on the Transport for London website to allow drivers to check their vehicles whether the "T-charge" will affect them. The new £10 charge will not apply to taxis.

Dr Peter Steer, the chief executive of Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: "The mayor's drive to clean up the capital's air is fantastic news for our patients and staff. Children living in highly polluted areas are four times more likely to have reduced lung function in adulthood, yet improving air quality has been shown to halt and reverse this effect."

Air pollution is believed to cause almost 50,000 premature deaths every year in the UK from illnesses associated with pollutants such as NO2 and ozone. 

73% of the UK's beaches have been found to be littered with tiny plastic "nurdles" in a study on 279 shorelines.

The plastic pieces are the size of lentils and are used as a raw material to make plastic products.

The effect on wildlife, including fish and birds, can be extremely serious, with the animals ingesting the plastics.

The findings will be added to a Government consultation on microplastics.

Steps are being taken to reduce plastic pollution, with retailers such as Body Shop, John Lewis and Mothercare committing to changing their plastic stem cotton buds to paper stem.

Madeleine Berg of Fidra, a Scottish environmental charity says the findings show that action is needed.

Ms Berg said: "Simple precautionary measures can help spillages and ensure nurdles don't end up in our environment."

"We are asking the UK government to ensure best practice is in place along the full plastic supply chain, and any further nurdle pollution is stopped."

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