News

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is seeking views on changes to planning practice guidance and policy clarifications, which will involve amendments to National Planning Policy.

The Government's priorities are to deliver more housing to meet demand in the places where people want to live, which includes supplying homes to meet the diverse needs of communities, such as homes for the first time buyers, suitable and accessible homes for older people, high quality rental properties and well designed social housing.

This consultation aims to collect views on:

  • changes to planning practice guidance relating to the standard method for assessing local housing need; and
  • policy clarifications relating to housing land supply, the definition of deliverable and appropriate assessment.

The key aim of these reforms is to ensure local planning authorities plan for the right homes in the right places, in an open, transparent and sustainable way, and to ensure the debate in each area can focus on how to deliver more and better homes, rather than spending unnecessary time on how many homes are needed.

Responses to this consultation can be submitted at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/technicalplanningconsultation.

This Consultation ends on 7 December 2018.

For more information, see the:

Consultation on new RoHS amendments
Published: 14 Nov 2018

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) seeks views on updating the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment (RoHS) Regulations SI 2012/3032, to implement the amended Directive (EU) 2017/2102/EU into UK law.

Legislative background

The RoHS Regulations SI 2012/3032 implement the recast Directive 2011/65/EU on the same subject. That Directive sets out rules on the restriction of the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment and provide an European-wide legislative framework to restrict and reduce the quantities of:

  • lead;
  • mercury;
  • cadmium;
  • hexevalent chromium;
  • poly-brominated biphenyls; and
  • poly-brominated diphenyl ethers,

in new electrical and electronic equipment (EEE).

Scope

The Recast RoHS Directive and its amendments are "Single Market" measures, giving Member States little flexibility around the implementation. 

DEFRA's approach is to use the European Communities Act 1972 to make the amending statutory instrument, lay it on 4 March 2019 so the Regulations will come into force from 29 March 2019 (the proposed "exit date" when the European Communities Act 1972 is revoked and the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 comes into force) and the amendments to come into force from July 2019.

The change will correct some unintended consequences of widening the definition of electrical and electronic equipment products. In particular the change will stop the restriction on the resale and repair of old equipment and clarify issues concerning product scope.

Specifically, the proposed amendments aim to address the:

  • secondary market problem, and how the restriction of the sale of second-hand equipment from July 2019 conflicts with the waste hierarchy;
  • spare parts problem, and the inability to repair or upgrade in scope equipment after July 2019;
  • pipe organs problem, with an inadvertent ban on new pipe organs placed on the market as they would not be RoHS compliant due to the amount of lead required to produce them;
  • non-road mobile machinery problem, as under the current definition, very similar types of equipment would be regulated differently and inconsistently after July 2019.

Responding to this Consultation

This Consultation is open for responses from 6 November 2018 until 4 December 2018.

The way to respond is by completing an online survey.

Alternatively, written responses can be sent via e-mail to env.regs@defra.gsi.gov.uk.

For more information, see the:

Natural Resources Wales (NRW), the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) have produced new guidance for anyone who is responsible for storing and transporting materials that could cause pollution if they spill, or to those who respond to spills or are responsible for transport or storage of waste from spills.

GPP22 is not however endorsed by the Environment Agency, so does not apply in England.

Details of the Guidance

It is always better to prevent spills from happening in the first place, therefore, secure storage, careful deliveries and training for staff who use, and transport substances that could cause pollution if spilt are essential for appropriate pollution control. 

If your business uses or transports substances that could cause pollution, you are responsible for the environmental safety of the site and activities.

The most common causes of spills include:

  • overfilling or poor handling of containers;
  • damaged containers;
  • containment failure;
  • failure of pipework or underground storage tanks;
  • collision or accident;
  • weather-related problems, such as flooding;
  • fires; and
  • vandalism.

Spills will only pose a risk to people and the environment if a source (eg. spill of a hazardous substance from a drum), pathway (eg. drain) and receptor (eg. river) are present.

This guidance document provides information about:

  • pollution risk assessments;
  • pollution incident response plans;
  • the pollution control hierarchy;
  • pollution control methods and equipment needed to contain spills;
  • site-specific pollution control options;
  • spills on a road or highway;
  • clean-up after containing a spill, including pollutant-specific information.

For more information, see:

The Environment Agency have an obligation to act on third party disclosures to them concerning malpractice on environmental matters. From 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 they received 28 disclosures.

The Agency have published a report including a summary of each disclosure, the action taken and the impact this had on the Environment Agency. These disclosures have been made by 'workers' or other third parties.

One disclosure included issues with: permit conditions; mis-description of waste; acceptance of non-permitted wastes; and storing of waste. Other disclosures involved: unlawful movement of fish; permit breaches; land contamination; illegal disposal of waste; illegal waste sites; land and water pollution; oil and chemical spills.

Actions taken ranged from: site inspections; enforcement notices; National Incident Reporting System used; intelligence stored on the MIMEX database; ongoing investigations; responsible persons notified; and discussions with reporters or other agencies for further information.

One matter disclosed was not within the Environment Agency's remit and was therefore closed. In the case of the illegal waste site, the site operator was prosecuted, with the Agency pursuing a Proceeds of Crime Act case.

The impact these disclosures had included: improved incident handling process; better training for Agency officers; the Agency notified of permit breaches; and better awareness of environmental risk to ensure future compliance.

As a result of such disclosures the Agency is able to protect and improve the environment, as well as support healthier and safer communities. 

For more information on this subject, see:

Residents in Davidstow, north Cornwall, have been less than impressed by a smell, described as "fishy", wafting in the air and keeping some awake at night time.

It led to the Environment Agency investigating, which found that the smell was coming from the waste water treatment plant belonging to Dairy Crest, who manufacture several cheese and dairy products. It has ordered Dairy Crest to reduce the odour and noise pollution.

The Environment Agency has issued Dairy Crest with an improvement notice, as it is not currently complying with its environmental permit. Dairy Crest has now started to address its environmental impact.

Andrew McKersie, who is part of an action group complaining about the smell, said, "The worst thing is that we typically seem to get the smell in the middle of the night. We're in bed and suddenly you are woken up by the stink, and then you can't get back to sleep, so you can't sleep properly."

For more information, see:

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) seeks views on banning the distribution and/or sale of:

  • plastic straws;
  • cotton buds with plastic stems; and
  • plastic drink stirrers.

It comes as part of the Government's 25 Year Environment Plan with an aim to eliminate all "avoidable" plastic waste. Plastic straws will still be allowed for sale and distribution for medical and accessibility purposes.

Scope

This consultation, which applies to England only,  seeks views on removing the plastic items mentioned above from general use, how will it affect businesses and what would be the additional cost and constrain related to the introduction of alternatives and the potential impact on consumers.

It also aims to determine how to implement exemptions on the use of plastic straws, so they will remain accessible for people with medical or accessibility needs.

Responding to this consultation

This consultation is open for responses from 22 October 2018 until 3 December 2018.

The preferred way to respond is by completing an online survey.

Alternatively, written responses can be sent via e-mail to plastics.consultation@defra.gsi.gov.uk.

For more information, see the:


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