ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems Revision 

ISO standards are reviewed every five years. 

“The new 2015 version will include a requirement to understand the organization’s context in order to better manage risk, with more emphasis made on leaders within organizations to promote environmental management. In addition there will be a shift towards improving environmental performance rather than improving the management system.”

Public consultation is underway. This is found here.

Infrastructure Act 2015 (England and Wales)

I posted earlier about the passage of the Infrastructure Act through the various stages of law-making. It is now law, and found here.

Non- Native and Invasive Species

Part 4, sections 23 to 25, insert new controls into the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) to provide for species control orders and agreements, and powers of entry, applicable in England and Wales.

Hydraulic Fracturing

Section 43 sets out the right to use deep-level land (land below 300 metres) for the purposes of petroleum extraction and geothermal energy.

Section 44 qualifies this right and details the ways and purposes for which this right may be exercised. Note: Section 44(3) enables the land to be left in a different condition after use, including in respect of any infrastructure on or any chemical residue in the land.

Sections 43 and 44 bind the Crown.

Section 50 inserts new Sections 4A and 4B into the Petroleum Act 1998 (as amended) to provide for specific environmental safeguards in respect of onshore hydraulic fracturing. 

New Section 4B(4) (of the Petroleum Act) stipulates that regulations made by statutory instrument will specify—

(a) the descriptions of the areas that will be “protected groundwater source areas”, and

(b) the descriptions of the areas that will be “other protected areas” for the purposes of section 4A

(a) and (b) are line items 5 and 6 of the Column 1 conditions that must be satisfied before a well consent may be granted as an onshore licence under the Petroleum Act in England and Wales).

New Section 4B(5) (of the Petroleum Act) stipulates that the statutory instrument which contains the regulations under Section 4B subsection (4) may not be made unless a draft of the instrument has been laid before and approved by a resolution of each House of Parliament.

New Section 4B(6) stipulates that the draft of the first such regulations must be laid before each House of Parliament on or before 31 July 2015.

Please note, the Infrastructure Act does not apply in Scotland or Northern Ireland. Please see the Scottish Government announcement on hydraulic fracturing in Scotland made 28th January – here.

The Infrastructure Act and the changes to existing Laws will be inserted into Cardinal EHS Legislation Registers – which contain Consolidated Law – available to subscribers.

Waste Crime Enforcement Consultation (England and Wales)

DEFRA (the UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) is consulting on new government proposals to enhance the enforcement powers of the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales and local authorities, in respect of waste.

Most waste infringements (of statute law) are environmental crimes. The consultation document sets out a range of proposals to improve enforcement.

The consultation also asks for evidence of measures to tackle waste crime and “trenchant poor performance in the waste management industry”.

The consultation document is found here. Consultation concludes 6th May 2015.

TSCA Reform (Chemicals) (US)

The U.S. federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) regulates chemicals in common use that are present in electronics, furniture, clothing, toys, building materials, cleaning and personal care products, and most household items. It was enacted in 1976, and – in spite of the introduction of thousands of new chemicals, as well as the major progress made in the understanding of chemicals’ environmental and health impacts – it hasn’t been updated since then.

Attempts are being made to reform the TSCA, to modernise it and to update it.

The Guardian has a useful article aimed at providing a laypersons summary, here.

A more in depth summary of the legal developments is collated and published by the American Bar Association, here.