Waste Transhipments (UK Brexit)

As you know, on exit day (without an agreement in place) the UK will be a third country as respects waste shipments to and from EU member states, and to and from EEA countries (the EU Waste Shipment Regulation is incorporated into the EEA Agreement, NB however, shipments to Norway were always regarded as an export).

DEFRA is working behind the scenes to continue current consents (under the EU Waste Shipment Regulation) beyond the exit day, subject to certain conditions being met.

DEFRA has now informed the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) on their latest enquiry, that (per the CIA email to members) “98% of existing consents under the EU Waste Shipments Regulation have attained agreement from EU member states to continue their validity if the UK withdraws from the EU without a deal. However, there will be additional administrative procedures to follow so please contact your regulator if you require clarification”.

Spain remains the only outstanding member state, and the CIA will continue to work with Government on resolving this issue. The CIA ask to be advised if Spain is of relevance to your waste streams and you have not already informed them, or DEFRA.

[my thanks to a client, for the above information, the understanding is “there were 557 consented exports as of November 2018. As of last week, all bar the 12 Spanish ones (including Gibraltar) have obtained agreement from the MS/CA”.]

New Air Quality Strategy (England)

DEFRA has today published its new Air Quality Strategy, for England (most aspects of air quality management are devolved matters). This document is here.

Scotland already has its own Air Quality Strategy, information is here. Wales and Northern Ireland are developing theirs.

The England document states :

(1) New legislation will create a stronger and more coherent framework. (This will be contained in the Environment Bill, which is not yet published save for the governance aspects).

(2) New England-wide powers will control major sources of pollution (some aspects listed below).

(3) New local powers will enable action in areas with an air pollution problem, including powers to create Clean Air Zones for all air pollution sources, in the Environment Bill, not just smoke, as exists currently (under the existing Clean Air Act).

(4) A commitment to bring all national and local monitoring data into a single online portal. Currently an online portal, with trigger alerts, exists for the London area.

(5) A commitment to publish a new target for fine particulates PM2.5, and evidence (early in 2019) on the action needed to achieve the WHO target of 10 micrograms per metre cubed. Note, the EU limit of 25 micrograms per metre cubed is met, and the second stage target of 20 micrograms per metre cubed is on target (the document states) for 2020.

(6) A commitment to provide a personal messaging system (see above comment re the London alert system).

(7) A commitment to creating a new target for reducing deposited reactive nitrogen (a target is specified).

(8) New legislation will compel manufacturers to recall non-road mobile machinery for failures in emissions control technology (this legislation is not yet published).

(9) New legislation will ban the sale of the most polluting fuels.

(10) Changes will be made to existing smoke control legislation, via the Environment Bill, to improve enforcement.

(11) Medium combustion plant emission standards will be reviewed.

(12) A National Air Pollution Control Programme will be developed with the devolved governments (as required by the EU National Emissions Ceilings Directive) for publication in 2019.

The above is a selection only, there are further commitments in the document itself.

Environment Watchdog Bill (UK Brexit)

DEFRA has just published its draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill. This document is here.

The consultation response is here.

This Brexit bill is necessary because without oversight of the EU institutions and mechanisms, environmental governance in the U.K. would face gaps.

The draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill sets out how the government will maintain environmental standards as the UK leaves the EU. It also details how the UK will build on the vision of the 25 Year Environment Plan.

This includes creating an independent body – the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) – which will:

• scrutinise environmental law and the government’s environmental improvement plan (EIP)

• investigate complaints on environmental law

• take enforcement action on environmental law

The draft Bill commits the government to publishing a policy statement which will set out how ministers should interpret and apply environmental principles. It also commits government to have a plan for environmental improvement.

In essence this Bill is the first part of the broader Environment Bill (not yet published). The broader Environment Bill will also include measures on air quality, nature recovery, waste and resource efficiency and water management. A policy paper is also published today (in connection with the Environment Bill). This policy paper is here.

Food and Drink Waste Hierarchy (England)

DEFRA today announced a new Food and Drink Waste Hierarchy, applicable in England. Scotland and Northern Ireland already have Food Waste rules, and Wales has stipulations to prevent down the drain disposal.

The (England) Food and Drink Waste Hierarchy is here.

The Hierarchy is as follows :

1 Prevent surplus and waste in your business.

2 Redistribute surplus food.

3 Make animal feed from former food.

4 Recycle your food waste – anaerobic digestion.

5 Recycle your food waste – composting.

6 Recycle your food waste – landspreading.

7 Incinerate to generate energy.

8 Incinerate without generating energy.

9 Send to landfill or sewer.

I will add to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists.

New Waste Strategy (England)

Waste legislation and policy is a devolved matter in the UK. Today, DEFRA published its Waste Strategy for England, replacing the 2011 waste review and 2013 waste prevention programme. The document “Our Waste, Our Resources: A Strategy for England” is here.

This 2018 strategy has the stated aim to contribute to the delivery of five strategic ambitions:

1  To work towards all plastic packaging placed on the market being recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025;

2  To work towards eliminating food waste to landfill by 2030;

3  To eliminate avoidable plastic waste over the lifetime of the 25 Year Environment Plan;

4  To double resource productivity by 2050; and

5  To eliminate avoidable waste of all kinds by 2050.

The document states –

As most of our existing waste legislation is EU-derived, this will be retained in UK law through the European Union Withdrawal Act 2018. And proposals which follow from this Strategy will take account of the future relationship we negotiate with the EU on environmental matters. Where existing legislation is insufficient to deliver our ambition we will take new powers to do so, including through our Environment Bill. And we will work with the devolved administrations to co- ordinate policy on resources and waste, to ensure that approaches are aligned and impacts on the UK Internal Market are minimised.

New Fisheries Bill (UK)

The UK Government lodged its Brexit Fisheries Bill at First Reading on 25th October 2018. The Bill and its Explanatory Notes are here.

The Fisheries Bill (the Bill) will provide the legal framework for the United Kingdom to operate as an independent coastal state under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) after the UK has left the European Union (EU) and the Common Fisheries Policy (the CFP). The Bill creates common approaches to fisheries management between the UK government and the Devolved Administrations, known collectively as the Fisheries Administrations, and makes reforms to fisheries management in England.

A couple of aspects to note :

(1) The Bill replaces the sustainability objectives currently in Art. 2 of the Basic Regulation of the Common Fisheries Policy (Regulation (EU) 1380/2013), making them objectives for the Fisheries Administrations or the Secretary of State.

(2) The objectives include the objective of securing that all UK fishing boats have equal access to UK waters. This is new.

(3) The Fisheries Administrations are required to publish a statement setting out the policies which would achieve or contribute to the achievement of those objectives. In addition, the Secretary of State is required to publish a statement setting out the policies that apply to England that achieve or contribute to the achievement of a number of objectives that apply only to the Secretary of State.

(4) The Fisheries Administrations are required to pursue the policies contained in the statements unless relevant considerations indicate otherwise.

(5) As expected for a Brexit Bill, when the UK leaves the EU, any access for EU and other foreign vessels to UK waters will be a matter for negotiation. The Bill revokes the EU legislation which currently provides for automatic rights for vessels registered in the EU to access UK waters. By revoking provisions in the Fishery Limits Act 1976, it removes the need to designate which countries’ vessels are able to fish in UK waters and introduces a new requirement that foreign vessels fishing in UK waters must be authorised to be in UK waters under international agreements or arrangements or must have a licence issued by a Fisheries Administration.

(6) The Bill revokes, replaces and clarifies existing powers for the Fisheries Administrations to license fishing in UK waters. For the most part, this is a consolidation of existing powers but the Bill makes several significant changes. It provides for equal access for UK vessels in UK waters by clarifying that licences issued by any Fisheries Administration are effective throughout UK waters. It also requires for the first time that foreign vessels are prohibited from fishing in UK waters unless they have a licence issued by a Fisheries Administration.

(7) As expected for a Brexit Bill, the Bill revokes EU legislation which currently sets UK fishing opportunities (quotas) and gives the Secretary of State powers to determine the UK’s fishing opportunities. Before doing so he must consult the other Fisheries Administrations. He must also make certain notifications, including a notification to Parliament.

(8) The Bill also introduces powers to enable annual fishing opportunities (quotas), which the Secretary of State can allocate to the English industry, to be sold to those in the English industry (attached to named English ports). This is new.

Agriculture Bill 2017-19 (UK)

UPDATE : initial reaction from Scottish Ministers – here.

The Brexit bill – the Agriculture Bill 2017-19 was published today, its second reading is tomorrow. The document is here.

The Agriculture Bill (“the Bill”) will provide the legal framework for the United Kingdom (UK) to leave the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and establish a new system based on public money for public goods for the next generation of farmers and land managers. It is the first Agriculture Bill to be published in 70 years.

The Agriculture Bill includes the following:

(1) Powers to give financial assistance and move towards a new system based on paying public money for public goods. Such payments may encompass (but are not limited to) environmental protection, public access to the countryside and measures to reduce flooding.

(2) Powers to collect and share data from those within or closely connected to the agri- food supply chain. The data collected and shared under these provisions will help farmers and producers increase productivity, help producers to manage risk and market volatility, and support animal and plant health and traceability.

(3) Powers to make regulations setting and amending marketing standards for agricultural products and to make provision about the classification of carcasses by slaughterhouses.

(4) Provisions to create a domestic system of recognition of Producer Organisations to encourage collaboration amongst growers. These provisions will provide for exemptions from competition law for recognised organisations.

(5) Provisions for the Secretary of State to make regulations imposing obligations on first purchasers of agricultural products in relation to contracts with producers. This is aimed at protecting producers and consumers from unfair trading practices.

Once the Bill becomes an Act of Parliament the following provisions will extend to England and Wales only:

(1) Part 1 which relates to new financial assistance powers
(2) Part 3 which relates to the collection and sharing of data
(3) Clause 20 which relates to the power to make regulations for marketing standards and carcass classification.

Schedule 3 extends mostly identical powers to the Welsh Ministers as those conferred on the Secretary of State in Parts 1-5 of the Bill.

Schedule 4 extends similar powers to DAERA (Northern Ireland) as those conferred on the Secretary of State in Parts 2-5 of the Bill.

The rest of the Act will extend to the UK. This is because the relevant provisions:

(a) Relate to a reserved matter; or
(b) Amend, or give powers to amend retained EU legislation which will extend to the UK. Such provisions may, however, apply more narrowly to a particular jurisdiction.

Annex A gives more information. Please refer to it for details re Scotland.