UK BAT Consultation (UK)

From 1st Jan 2021, EU BATC (best available techniques conclusions) documents will not be applicable in the UK (except in Northern Ireland under the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol of the Withdrawal Agreement).

The UK is now consulting on developing its own approach to the creation of UK BAT documents. Here (and online – here). The deadline is 18 April 2021.

A new governance structure is proposed to enable BAT a’ Best Available Techniques’ to be developed within the UK. This would be formed of a new Standards Council, made up of representatives from the UK Government and Devolved Administrations, a new Regulators Group that will provide technical advice to the Standards Council, and Technical Working Groups for each new ‘Best Available Techniques’ under consideration.

The Council would coordinate a rolling programme for review of ‘Best Available Techniques’ within the UK. The programme will be informed by the time since the industry sector last had a ‘Best Available Techniques’ review as well as technical insight on new and emerging techniques and ‘Best Available Techniques’ development in other regimes around the world. This includes considering when general guidance on ‘Best Available Techniques’ developed for new processes or for unique installations would benefit from being considered through the new system. The decision on the future timetable will be based on technical advice provided by the Regulators Group, and instigation of ‘Best Available Techniques’ development can be proposed by any Council member. It is proposed that ‘Best Available Techniques’ currently under review by the EU, where UK industry and experts have already been involved, should be considered by the UK process, once established.

The Regulators Group will support the Council and provide oversight of the work of the sector specific Technical Working Groups. It will develop and regularly review the technical principles that underpin ‘Best Available Techniques’ within the UK, apply those principles when reviewing each sector ‘Best Available Techniques’ and will make recommendations to the Council on ‘Best Available Techniques’. The Regulators Group membership would comprise of representatives from the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, Northern Ireland Environment Agency and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency as well as the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (OPRED) (for offshore oil and gas installations).

Further detail is set out in the consultation document.

F-Gases and ODS (GB from 1st Jan 2021)

I posted a few days ago with the stipulations if exports to the EU are rejected. Today, 15th Oct, DEFRA and the Environment Agency issued full instructions on the regulations that will apply in England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain – GB), for F-Gases and ODS from 1st Jan 2021.

The updated webpage is here.

GB will continue to:

• restrict ODS

• use the same schedule as the EU to phase down HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons, the most common type of F gas) by 79% by 2030 relative to a 2009 to 2012 baseline

That means new GB F gas quotas will follow the same phase down steps as the EU:

• limited to 63% of the baseline in 2019 and 2020

• reducing to 45% of the baseline in 2021

Most of the rules for F gas and ODS will not change. However, new GB IT systems will need to be used to:

• manage new GB quotas

• report on use

EU regulations will still apply for F gas, ODS and products containing them placed on the EU and Northern Ireland market after 1 January 2021.

The Environment Agency will administer the GB system on behalf of England, Scotland and Wales, if it receives the direction of the Scottish and Welsh Governments, from 1 January 2021.

Businesses preparing for 1 January 2021 should continue to work with the Environment Agency to register on the GB system and apply for GB quotas.

Please read the entire webpage, as the above is only part of the stipulations.

F-Gases and ODS (GB from 1st Jan 2021)

I posted before about F-Gases and ODS after the Transition Period.

On 8 October, DEFRA and the Environment Agency (hitherto the lead agency for the UK in this matter) issued a major update – here.

Reporting F gas activity

F gas activities must be reported each year where a person –

• produces, imports or exports one or more metric tonnes of F gas, or a quantity of F gas equivalent to 100 tonnes or more of CO2

• destroys F gas equivalent to one metric tonne or 1,000 tonnes or more of CO2

• uses F gas as feedstock equivalent to 1000 tonnes or more of CO2

• places pre-charged products and equipment containing the equivalent of 500 tonnes or more of CO2 on the market.

A person must report F gas activities from 1 Jan 2020 to 31 December 2020 to the European Commission by 31 March 2021. This is a Transition Period obligation.

HFC exports rejected at an EU border control post (BCP) – new

If HFC exports from GB to EU (and Northern Ireland) are rejected at a BCP and need to return to GB free circulation status for the goods in GB will need to be regained.

This applies to both HFCs in bulk and in products and equipment.

To regain free circulation status the HFCs must comply with clearance processes, a person must:

• have a full customs declaration

• be registered on the GB HFC registry

• have sufficient HFC quota authorisations or delegations at the time of re-entry

The Environment Agency will administer the GB HFC systems on behalf of England, Scotland and Wales, subject to receiving the direction of the Scottish and Welsh Governments, from 1 January 2021.

The National Clearance Hub (NCH) will check the customs declaration against the HFC Registry. If the person has sufficient quota or authorisations, they will give permission for the goods to move on from the GB port of re-entry.

A person’s HFCs may not be able to re-enter GB if that person:

• is not on the HFC Registry

• does not have sufficient quota or authorisations

NCH will instruct Border Force to stop and detain the consignment at the border when returning from an EU BCP.

NCH or Border Force and the regulator will check the consignment and decide how to deal with the returned HFCs.

The regulator is:

• Environment Agency in England

• Scottish Environmental Protection Agency in Scotland

• Natural Resources Wales in Wales

The HFCs may be destroyed.

Reporting ODS activity

ODS activities must be reported if a person –

• produces, imports or exports ODS

• destroys ODS

• uses ODS as feedstock or process agent

A person must report ODS activities for 1 Jan 2020 to 31 December 2020 to the European Commission by 31 March 2021. This is a Transition Period obligation.

ODS exports rejected by an EU border control post – new

If ODS exports from GB to EU (and Northern Ireland) are rejected at a EU border control post (BCP) and need to return to GB! free circulation status for the goods in GB will need to be re-attained.

To regain free circulation status the ODS must comply with clearance processes.

A person must –

• have a full customs declaration

• be registered on the GB ODS licensing system

• hold sufficient ODS quota

• have a valid ODS import licence at the time of re-entry

The Environment Agency will administer the GB ODS system on behalf of England, Scotland and Wales, subject to receiving the direction of the Scottish and Welsh Governments from 1 January 2021.

The National Clearance Hub (NCH) will check the customs declaration against the ODS licensing system.

ODS may not be able to re-enter GB if:

• the person is not on the ODS Licensing System

• the consignment does not have a valid ODS import licence

NCH will instruct Border Force to stop and detain the consignment at the border when returning from an EU BCP.

NCH or Border Force and the regulator will check the consignment and decide how to deal with the returned ODS.

The regulator is:

• Environment Agency in England

• Scottish Environmental Protection Agency in Scotland

• Natural Resources Wales in Wales

The ODS may be destroyed.

Climate Change Agreements (UK)

In the Spring Budget 2020, the UK Government announced that the current Climate Change Agreements (CCA) scheme would be reopened to new entrants for a set period and extended for a further two years until March 2025.

In April 2020, the UK government consulted on its proposals for how this extension would be implemented and sought views on potential reforms were there to be a future CCA scheme beyond March 2025.

The Environment Agency is expected to certify eligible new entrant facilities from January 2021. The deadline for applications is extended to 30 November 2020.

The baseline period is to be updated. Where discrete data for 2018 is not currently available, appropriately adjusted Target Period 3 (covering 2017 and 2018) data may be used instead to estimate a 2018 baseline.

The deadline for sector organisations to submit counter proposals for agreeing sectoral targets will be extended to 30 October 2020.

The Buy-out Price will increase to £18/tCO2e for Target Period 5 (1st Jan 2021 to 31 Dec 2022). The Target Period 4 (1 Jan 2019 to 32 Dec 2020) buy-out remains at £14/tCOe.

The financial penalty price for penalties related to Target Period 5 will increase in line with the buy-out cost per tCO2e for the appropriate target period; the financial penalty will increase to be the greater of £250 or £18/tCO2e.

A short window to make some specific amendments to agreements will be opened in 2021, with separate guidance to follow on this.

The Government will look to confirm a timeline for further engagement on the future of the CCA scheme shortly.

Further information on the CCA extension to March 2025 (and the views received on the future of the CCA scheme) is found here.

COVID-19 EA Regulatory Position Statements (England)

I posted before about the Environment Agency’s Regulatory Position Statements (RPS), and the fact that the Agency is publishing RPS for the COVID-19 crisis.

Yesterday 21st April, the EA has issued further COVID-19 RPS. Here

You will note there are now quite a few of them.

COVID-19 Environment Agency (England)

The Environment Agency (EA) issues Regulatory Position Statements (RPSs). These explain the situations and conditions when an environmental permit is not required.

The EA issued temporary RPSs last year in the run up to the Brexit Exit days.

The EA has now issued 3 temporary RPSs to deal with COVID-19 – here.

Two address waste issues, and one deals with water sampling.

The exceeding waste storage limits RPS is similar to the temporary Brexit RPS that was issued last year.

The full list of EA Regulatory Position Statements is – here.

Persistent Organic Pollutants from 1st Jan (UK Brexit)

The UK has confirmed that it’s persistent organic pollutants (POPs) regulation system will continue in its current form after 1 January 2021.

The matter is presently addressed (for the EU27) by a 2019/1021 recast EU POPs Regulation that came into force in 2019. In the UK, this 2019 EU Regulation is retained as Retained EU Law, and a 2019 enacted Brexit EU Exit instrument makes the Retained EU document operate in the UK (see the Brexit Consolidated Law List in Subscribers systems).

The UK confirmation is here.

The UK notice confirms all existing obligation and protections will continue because the UK is a signatory to both the Stockholm Convention and the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution. These Conventions are UNECE Conventions. The UK did not leave the UNECE (UN Economic Commission for Europe).

There is no change to the UK competent authorities.

Future updates will reflect Stockholm Convention decisions and agreed scientific and technical progress, and not necessarily changes to the EU POPs Regulation if it diverges.

Accordingly, subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers and Checklists – UK systems – will have both conventions added, where POPs are included in their UK systems. This is in addition to the necessary Retained EU Law.

The list of restricted, banned and monitored substances, with the exemptions, set out in the annexes to the current EU POPs Regulation will be amended this year (2020) to reflect decisions made at the last Stockholm Convention conference.

The Environment Agency is accordingly addressing changes pertinent to Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The EA document is here.

These changes can be expected in amendments to existing domestic law.

The UK notice confirms identification of potential new POPs substances, with the exception of pesticides, will be managed initially through the UK chemicals regulatory regime that will replace EU REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) in the UK.

The UK notice confirms if all the characteristics of a POP emerge from the evidence gathering, the UK will develop a dossier for the Stockholm Convention’s POP Review Committee to assess.

Now that the UK has left the EU, this UK POPs notice confirms further changes to UK regulation of POPs will result from the review processes set up under UNECE Conventions.

Low Risk Waste Positions (England)

UPDATE : instructions on Registered Waste Exemptions was updated today (21st August) – here.

The Environment Agency is not currently enforcing the need for an environmental permit in specific cases for some activities.

These low risk waste positions (LRWPs) explain when a waste producer does not need to apply for an environmental permit for those activities.

A number of LRWPs are issued – here.

The online source for Registering Waste Exemptions is here.