News

Kennelpak Ltd from Nottingham has paid over £75,000 to the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and the Erewash Canal Preservation & Development Association, for failing to meet its packaging and recycling obligations as a producer.

The company is a manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of pet food and related pet products and was unaware it was handling over 50 tonnes of packaging waste and had a turnover of over £2 million, which is the threshold for obligations under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations SI 2007/871. The negligence period lasted for 15 years, from 2001 to 2016.

The financial contribution to the charities is part of an enforcement undertaking offered to the Environment Agency for the company's failure to register with the Agency, recycle and recover a proportion of their waste by purchasing Packaging Recovery Notes.

The Environment Officer at the Environment Agency, Joanne Weston said "Enforcement Undertakings allow packaging waste producers to come into compliance and contribute towards environmental projects and improvements using the money they have saved".

"The Environment Agency is increasingly using this method of enforcement for cases of less serious offending to restore or enhance the environment, improve practices of the offending business and ensure future compliance with environmental requirements. However, we will continue to pursue prosecution for the most serious cases".

Legislation setting out the Scottish Government's targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, including a net-zero aim by 2045, has been published.

The Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) (Scotland) Act 2019 will amend the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 and also sets interim targets for reduction of at least:

  • 56% by 2020;
  • 75% by 2030; and
  • 90% by 2040.

Ahead of the rest of the UK

The 2045 net-zero emissions target is five years ahead of the target for the rest of the UK, and is based on independent advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) on what can currently be achieved.

All of Scotland's emissions targets are based on advice from the CCC, and are regularly reviewed. They also include a fair share of emissions from international aviation and shipping.

Progress towards the targets will be measured against:

  • 1990 levels of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide; and
  • 1995 levels of hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons, sulphur hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride.

Scotland's approach

The 2019 Act is devised around the principles of a "Just Transition", which means reducing emissions in a way that tackles inequality and promotes fair work. This principle is at the heart of Scotland's approach to reaching net-zero.

A Just Transition Commission is currently engaging with various stakeholders across Scotland to prepare advice on how to maximise the economic and social opportunities from meeting emissions reduction targets whilst managing the risks.

Further social engagement is planned through the Big Climate Conversation, which has been running open public workshops since July 2019 with the aim of listening to the concerns of the people of Scotland on how the global climate emergency should be dealt with.

Meeting the emissions reductions targets

The 2019 Act requires a strategic delivery plan on how the emissions reductions targets will be met to be published every five years.

A third Climate Change Plan was published in February 2018, which sits alongside Scotland's Energy Strategy. A second annual report which detailed the progress made in implementing this plan was released in December 2019.

The 2018 plan is in the process of being updated, which will reflect the increased targets set in the 2019 Act. The update will also include the evidence and findings of the Big Climate Conversation and the Just Transition Commission.

Progress reports

An annual report is published each year that sets out whether each emissions reduction target was met. The latest report for the 2017 target year was published in October 2019.

Moving forward now that the 2019 Act has been published, the target reports will be made available as soon as possible after official statistics on Scottish greenhouse gas emissions have been published - usually June two years after the event.

So statistics on emissions during 2020 can be expected to be published in June 2022.

The appellant factory operator, Alcoa Manufacturing (GB) Limited, appealed against a decision upholding the respondent's claim for damages for noise-induced hearing loss.

The respondent had worked at the factory between 1963 and 1976 and claimed that his injuries were caused by the appellant's negligence in failing to carry out a noise survey to ensure he was not exposed to unsafe levels of noise.

The respondent asked the trial judge to draw inference from previous case law against the appellant, based on the fact that no noise surveys had been produced. The judge did not do so, and accepted that documents relating to the noise survey might have been lost instead of never carried out, and found that expert engineering evidence did not support the case that the respondent had been subject to wrongful levels of noise. He dismissed the claim.

On appeal the judge held the appellant was under a duty to conduct noise surveys from 1970 onwards. He held that the previous judge should have drawn inference from previous case law and that a good interpretation of the respondent's evidence would have involved accepting that he was exposed to noise throughout the working day without formal protection or warning. The judge held the expert evidence was unable to disprove that the working environment could have been the cause of his hearing loss, and allowed the appeal by the respondent.

When Alcoa Manufacturing (GB) Ltd appealed this decision, it was considered when a common-law duty to carry out noise surveys arose. There was no statutory duty to carry out noise surveys until the Noise at Work Regulations SI 1989/1790 came into force, but Ministry of Labour guidance pre-dating the Regulations gave rise to common-law duty to carry out a noise survey in certain circumstances. A common-law duty to carry out and act upon a noise survey arose in around 1973 or 1974. The judge concluded that the previous judges decision to remit the case for assessment of damages for the entire period the respondent worked at the factory, should be amended to provide that damages should be assessed for the period from 1973 or 1974 to 1976.

It was also found that there was no sufficient basis available to overturn the finding of the fact made by the original judge that there was no breach of duty on the part of the appellant, because noise surveys might have been lost. It was concluded the first judge was entitled to accept the engineering evidence and avoid resorting to inferences from case law, even if they might otherwise have been drawn.

"In future cases where it is relevant to determine whether a noise survey has been undertaken in the past it would be helpful if both parties addressed that in pre-trial questions about the existence of documents or in the evidence at trial. This would help to avoid a situation where the trial judge is left to deal with the factual finding about whether a noise survey was carried out on the basis only of submissions about lists of documents".

The appeal was allowed.

Cedrec Christmas office hours!
Published: 06 Jan 2020

We're all counting down to Christmas, so we thought we better give you a heads up as to our office hours for the festive period.

Cedrec will be closed from 12pm on Tuesday 24 December 2019, and we'll be back in all refreshed on Thursday 2 January 2020.

All that's left is to wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year, and we'll see you in January for our Roadshow!

Love, Cedrec x

A vehicle recovery and repair company has been sentenced after a new worker suffered fatal crush injuries during maintenance work, only hours after he started his new job.

Birmingham Magistrates' Court heard how in November 2014, the employee was fatally injured when a rigid vehicle suddenly fell from an inadequate axle support prop at Siskin Parkway East, Middlemarch Business Park, Coventry.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found that a cable reel drum jack was used to support the vehicle, which was not an appropriate piece of equipment for the task being undertaken.

Now dissolved, Albert Road Recovery and Repair Limited of Warley Hill Business Park, Brentwood, Essex, was found guilty of breaching the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and was fined £20,000, the highest amount available to this court.

HSE inspector John Glynn commented on how the incident had led to the tragic death of an employee within hours of him starting his new job, and that it was "completely avoidable".

"Not only did the company fail to adequately induct the new starter into their business, it failed to adequately instruct and supervise him on his first day and provided him with completely unsuitable tools and equipment. Had the company considered the risks properly, they would have had safe systems of work and approved vehicle repair equipment in place".

A year-long project to reinvigorate a Suffolk river and increase the fish population has been completed.

The Environment Agency, Sudbury and Long Melford Angling Club, and Sudbury Commons Land Group, worked together to carry out improvements on a stretch of the River Stour.

The partnership work, which took place at Friars Meadow in Sudbury, cost almost £10,000 and was funded by fishing licence money.

The project involved bridge repairs, tree surgery, large scale removal of silt and vegetation, and creating spawning areas.

Previously it was not possible to fish along this stretch of river due to a number of factors, including the build-up of silt, however it is hoped there will now be increased opportunities for anglers.

It could also encourage fish to spawn and improve the water quality.

Ben Norrington, Environment Agency fisheries officer in East Anglia, commented how pleased they were with how the project had gone. That the river had been "regenerated to encourage better habitat and to also create recreational fishing opportunities".

"This section of river has been historically fished by various angling clubs for over 50 years and will hopefully be an asset that can be fished again".


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