Welcoming the continuation of Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin as UK Secretary of State for Transport.
The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for the policies of the UK Department of Transport, including:
* transport strategy, including economic growth and climate change
* spending review
* transport security
* high speed rail, including HS2.
NB: many transport responsibilities are devolved to the separate administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The House of Commons Research Briefing dated 9th February 2015 sets out the current position vis a vis Scotland and is here.
Welcoming Rt Hon Greg Clark MP as the new UK Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). DCLG is the UK government department responsible for communities and local government in England. There are corresponding departments in the Scottish Government, the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Executive.
The UK Secretary of State is responsible for the overall strategic direction of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in England. Main areas of responsibility include:
* supporting local government
* communities and neighbourhoods
* local economic growth
* planning and building
* integration and faith
One of the developments I will be bringing to this Blog in the coming months is to extend its range to cover Planning, Building Control, and environmental legislation and policy promulgated by DCLG (and its equivalent in the devolved administration).
Welcoming the continuation of Rt Hon Liz Truss MP as Secretary of State for UK Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
DEFRA is a large UK government department responsible for policy and regulations on environmental, food and rural issues, covering:
* the natural environment, biodiversity, plants and animals
* sustainable development and the green economy
* food, farming and fisheries
* animal health and welfare
* environmental protection and pollution control
* rural communities and issues
DEFRA only works directly in England, by concordat works closely with the devolved administrations in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, and generally leads on negotiations in the EU and internationally.
DEFRA’s work and priorities are delivered by 35 separate agencies and public bodies, listed here.
Welcoming Amber Rudd MP as the new Secretary of State of (Cabinet Minister responsible for) the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC).
Over the next months, in this Blog I will be posting more information about Energy, Renewables, and Microgeneration, including the progress I make on my own project to install and run photovoltaics.
The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for the business of the Department, including:
* department strategy and budgets
* energy market reform
* carbon price
* Annual Energy Statement
* energy security
* National Security Council
* Carbon Plan
* Renewable Energy Strategy
* 2050 Pathways
This short video (UK Parliament Education) is a handy summary of how laws are made in the UK.
Video – https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=iM4CKYCrW7Y&feature=youtu.be
In this Blog, I post about early stages of UK Laws as they are being thought about and consulted on. I don’t post about everything, because this will be confusing, particularly as some will not be taken forward. Instead I post about the matters I consider to be of most importance and relevance to Environment and Health and Safety.
I post about other things as well. Please look at the Archive categories on the Blog for posts I have published earlier.
Subscribers to Cardinal Environment Tailored EHS Legislation Registers receive Email Alerts of law changes they need to take action on.
Welcoming the new 2015 Government in the UK, here are a few of the challenges ongoing:
* Deciding on the UK input to the Paris Climate Change summit in December.
On February 14 2015 the party leaders made a joint declaration on climate change – this is here.
* Addressing Coal Power Plants that are not upgraded to meet the EU Large Combustion Plant Directive.
* Bringing NOx in ambient air within air quality standards – my blog post on the UK Supreme Court decision is earlier.
* Providing for improved Nature and Habitat protection to mitigate and reverse recorded loss.
* Tackling persistent water pollution still being caused by some Sewage Treatment Plants – my blog post on this is earlier.
26th March 2015: the European Commission referred the UK the Court of Justice of the European Union over its failure to ensure that urban waste water is adequately treated in 17 agglomerations (European Urban Wastewater Directive). In the EU, Member States need adequate collection and treatment systems for urban waste water, as untreated water poses risks to human health, inland waters and the marine environment. The EU has taken legal action against the UK, and other member states, repeatedly for breaches of the European Urban Wastewater Directive.
In four of the agglomerations in question in this 2015 action (Banchory, Stranraer, Ballycastle, and Clacton), treatment is inadequate, and one agglomeration, Gibraltar, has no treatment plant at all. In ten other agglomerations, where the waste water discharges into sensitive areas such as freshwaters and estuaries, the existing treatment fails to meet the more stringent standards required for such areas. The areas concerned are Lidsey, Tiverton, Durham (Barkers Haugh), Chester-le-Street, Winchester Central and South (Morestead), Islip, Broughton Astley, Chilton (also known as Windlestone), Witham and Chelmsford.
EU legislation on urban waste water treatment dates back to 1991, with long lead times for the implementation deadlines. Member States had until the end of 1998 to ensure stringent treatment for wastewater from agglomerations discharging into sensitive areas. They had until the end of 2000 to ensure appropriate treatment from large agglomerations discharging into undesignated waters and until the end of 2005 for discharges from medium-sized agglomerations and discharges to freshwater and estuaries from small agglomerations.
The case also concerns excessive spills from storm water overflows in collecting systems serving the agglomerations of Llanelli and Gowerton. Innovative and environmentally positive sustainable urban drainage solutions are now being implemented to improve the situation. However the current spill rates are still too high and compliance is not foreseen before 2020. The deadline for having in place compliant collecting systems for these agglomerations was end 2000.
This post will be updated as developments occur.
On 29th April, the UK Supreme Court handed down its judgement in the ClientEarth v DEFRA (UK Government) case. I posted about this case December last.
These proceedings arose out of the admitted and continuing failure by the UK since 2010 to secure compliance in certain zones with the limits for nitrogen dioxide levels set out by European law, under Directive 2008/50/EC. The Supreme Court in its judgement of 1st May 2013 had declared the UK to be in breach of article 13 (NOx limit values) and had referred certain questions concerning articles 13, 22 and 23 of the Directive to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU). The CJEU had answered those questions in a judgement dated 14 November 2014 (Case C-404/13). At the same time, the European Court had ruled the UK Government must have a plan to achieve the air quality limits ‘as soon as possible’. My post about this is also in the December archive.
In its judgement of 29th April 2015, the UK Supreme Court unanimously orders that the government must submit new air quality plans to the European Commission no later than 31 December 2015.
Link to Supreme Court Decision press summary.
Link to Supreme Court Decision.
In 2011 the UK Government said a number of areas, including London, would be unable to comply by 2015 (the deadline in the EU Directive) and instead EU law allowed it to ‘comply as soon as possible’. Indeed, air quality plans would continue the breach at least until 2030. This approach is now struck down by the Supreme Court.
The country goes to the polls on Thursday May 7 to elect a new government.
Some reaction from existing politicians and campaigners is set out in the Air Quality News article here.