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.

EU Exit regulatory position statements (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 12th April

Yesterday (1st April) the Environment Agency began issuing EU Exit regulatory position statements (UK RPS).

These set out (time-limited) environmental permitting and licensing situations where the Environment Agency will not take action for non-compliance due to EU Exit.

The first two relate to radioactive materials and radioactive waste – here.

I will add these to a separate category in the Brexit Law List (in subscribers’ Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists).

Waste Transport across borders will become more difficult and delayed after EU Exit. Make sure checks are carried out on amounts stored vis a vis EPR Schedule 3 exemption limits. Contact the Environment Agency if limits will be exceeded.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – contact the local regulator.

[the Exit day may change, please continue to follow this Blog]

Standard Rules Environmental Permitting (England)

The Environment Agency offers standard rules environmental permits in England for listed activities.

Further permits are now available (waste).

The full list is here.

Note : standard rules permits are cheaper, but

• the rules cannot be varied and there is no right of appeal against them

• any change in operations so a standard permit no longer works for the operation results in a requirement to make it a bespoke permit instead

• if there is a change in the local environment after the permit has been issued (for example due to a change in the definition of a groundwater source protection zone), the operation may need to be upgraded to a standard sufficient for the changed environment, or the permit changed to a bespoke permit