Waste Classification (EU)

The European Commission has issued new technical guidance on the classification of waste. This guidance is here.

Subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists will have this guidance added (ENV Waste). Some will already have requested it, and had it inserted.

Individual Member States may also issue local guidance from time to time.

Note : this guidance is without prejudice to the interpretation which may be given by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), and the views expressed cannot prejudge the position that the Commission might take before the CJEU.

Single-use plastics : new rules proposed (EU)

The European Commission is proposing new EU-wide rules to target the 10 single-use plastic products most often found on Europe’s beaches and seas, as well as lost and abandoned fishing gear.

The proposed new rules (if agreed) will introduce :

(1) Plastic ban in certain products: Where alternatives are readily available and affordable, single-use plastic products will be banned from the market. The ban will apply to plastic cotton buds, cutlery, plates, straws, drink stirrers and sticks for balloons which will all have to be made exclusively from more sustainable materials instead. Single-use drinks containers made with plastic will only be allowed on the market if their caps and lids remain attached;

(2) Consumption reduction targets: Member States will have to reduce the use of plastic food containers and drinks cups. They can do so by setting national reduction targets, making alternative products available at the point of sale, or ensuring that single-use plastic products cannot be provided free of charge;

(3) Obligations for producers: Producers will help cover the costs of waste management and clean-up, as well as awareness raising measures for food containers, packets and wrappers (such as for crisps and sweets), drinks containers and cups, tobacco products with filters (such as cigarette butts), wet wipes, balloons, and lightweight plastic bags. The industry will also be given incentives to develop less polluting alternatives for these products;

(4) Collection targets: Member States will be obliged to collect 90% of single-use plastic drinks bottles by 2025, for example through deposit refund schemes;

(5) Labelling Requirements: Certain products will require a clear and standardised labelling which indicates how waste should be disposed, the negative environmental impact of the product, and the presence of plastics in the products. This will apply to sanitary towels, wet wipes and balloons;

(6) Awareness-raising measures: Member States will be obliged to raise consumers’ awareness about the negative impact of littering of single-use plastics and fishing gear as well as about the available re-use systems and waste management options for all these products.

The Commission’s proposals will now go to the European Parliament and Council for adoption.

NOTE : some EU member states already have legislation in place or planned, for part or all of these measures.

See here, for the European Commission press release.

UK exits the EU (DEFRA preparations)

Ministerial approval is given [prior to the EU (Withdrawal) Bill Royal Assent] to the following projects – to ensure preparation for all negotiation outcomes :

(1) Delivery of a new national import control system for animals, animal products and high risk food and feed. Scheduled to commence building: mid-January 2018. Estimated cost before Royal Assent: £7m.

(2) Delivery of new IT capability to enable registration and regulation of chemical substances placed on the UK market. Scheduled to commence building: February 2018. Estimated cost before Royal Assent: £5.8m.

(3) Delivery of systems for the licensing and marketing of veterinary medicines. Scheduled to commence building: end-January 2018. Estimated cost before Royal Assent: £1.6m.

(4) Development of a new catch certificate system for UK fish and fish products being exported to the EU on Exit. Scheduled to commence: building end-January 2018. Estimated cost before Royal Assent: £1.0m.

(5) Development of a UK system to manage the quota of fluorinated gases and ozone depleting substances required under the UN Montreal Protocol. Scheduled to commence: March 2018. Estimated cost before Royal Assent: £0.5m.

(6) Development of data exchange arrangements to identify the movement of EU and third country vessels in UK waters and the movement of UK vessels in EU or third country waters. Scheduled to commence: April 2018. Estimated cost before Royal Assent: £0.1m

Note : regarding start dates – the Permanent Secretary letter is dated 18 January 2018 – here.

The Civil Service World article dated the next day confirms approval was given on the 18 January 2018 for these projects. The CSW article is here.

DEFRA announcements (England)

(1) DEFRA is consulting on a new air quality strategy – the consultation is here.

Note : House of Commons Briefing Paper (March 2018) entitled Brexit and Air Quality – here.

And European Commission refers (17 May 2018) the UK (and others) to the CJEU for infringement of EU air quality law – the press release is here.

(2) a new Tree health resilience strategy 2018 is launched – this is here.

(3) a National Parks review is announced – the press release (which links to the terms of reference) is here.

Insecticide Restrictions Upheld (EU)

The General Court of the European Union this morning confirmed the validity of the restrictions introduced at EU level in 2013 against the insecticides clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid (neonicotinoids) because of the risks those substances pose to bees.

However, it largely upheld the action brought by BASF and annulled the measures restricting the use of the pesticide fipronil, since they were imposed without a prior impact assessment.

The press release is here.

The General Court (EGC) is a constituent court of the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The European Commission had already decided on 27 April to extend existing measures to ban the outdoor use of the three neonicotinoids, after realising the necessary qualified majority among EU member states. Information about this is here.

18 member states, including France, Germany, Italy and the UK, endorsed the Commission proposal to further restrict the use of the three active substances used in pesticides (Bayer’s imidacloprid and clothianidin, and Syngenta’s thiamethoxam).

The countries that voted against were Hungary, Romania, Denmark and the Czech Republic.

The new ban on outdoor use will be in effect by the end of 2018.

Brexit Bill Tracker (UK)

The UK Institute for Government has helpfully compiled the following graphic. You will notice that no UK Brexit bill is yet enacted. Nonetheless, unless otherwise agreed between the UK and the EU, from 12 midnight CET on 29 March 2019, the UK is a third country (in EU law terms).

In the event there is agreement between the UK and the EU on Withdrawal, there will be an additional Withdrawal and Implementation Bill (not to be confused with the Withdrawal Bill that is presently in progress). It is this Withdrawal and Implementation Bill that may set out the provisions for the Transition Period (if such is agreed). Attached to this Bill, may be an outline of the future relationship between the UK and the EU.