EU REACH lead shot ban (EU)

25 Jan 2021 amendment to EU REACH – here – bans lead shot in or around wetlands. The amendment is made to EU REACH Annex XVII (the marketing and use restrictions).

From 15 February 2023, a list of activities involving use of lead shot in or within 100 metres of wetlands is banned.

“wetlands” means areas of marsh, fen, peatland or water, whether natural or
artificial, permanent or temporary, with water that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including areas of marine water the depth of which at low tide does not exceed 6 metres.

Reaction to this ban is here.

In addition, ECHA (the European Chemicals Agency) has published its proposals for further restrictions on the use of lead in ammunition for hunting, outdoor sports shooting and fishing.

The ECHA proposals are described and found here.

New Animal Health Law (EU)

From 21st April 2021, the EU will operate a new single, comprehensive regulatory framework for animal health, replacing a miscellany of complex law. The instrument (amended in 2017) is here. It’s a 2016 dated EU Regulation 2016/429, and applies to terrestrial and aquatic animals, animal products, and pets. It does not directly deal with animal welfare.

Q&A on the EU Animal Health Law is here.

The EU Animal Health Law sets out requirements for:

• disease prevention and preparation (e.g. biosecurity measures) for eventual outbreaks, such as the use of diagnostic tools, vaccination and medical treatments;

• the identification and registration of animals and the certification and tracing of their consignments, as well as those of certain animal products (e.g. semen, ova, embryos);

• the entry of animals and animal products into the EU and movement within;

• disease control and eradication, including emergency measures such as restrictions on the movement of animals, killing and vaccination.

The EU’s Animal Health Law is supplemented in the following aspects:

• the approval of germinal product establishments and the traceability and animal health requirements for movements within the EU of germinal products of certain kept terrestrial animals;

• prevention and control of certain diseases;

• animal health requirements for the movements within the EU of terrestrial animals and hatching eggs;

• surveillance, eradication and disease free status for certain diseases;

• rules for aquaculture establishments and transporters of aquatic animals;

• rules for entry into the EU, and the movement and handling after entry of consignments of certain animals, germinal products and products of animal origin; and

• rules for establishments keeping terrestrial animals and hatcheries, and the traceability of certain kept terrestrial animals and hatching eggs;

• diseases subject to union surveillance programmes, its geographical scope and diseases for which disease-free status of compartments may be established.

A series of delegated Regulations and an implementing Regulation supplement the EU Animal Health Law.

Safety Data Sheets (SDS) (EU)

Safety data sheets are regulated in the EU (and the EEA) via article 31 and Annex II of EU REACH.

In 2020, an amendment was made to EU REACH, that changed the safety data sheet requirements and the SDS format, effective 1st Jan 2021.

The instrument that does this is here. The SDS guidance was re-issued here.

Safety data sheets not complying with this 2020 change may continue to be provided until 31 December 2022.

The new EU SDS will apply to all goods circulating in the EU and in Northern Ireland.

[this change is not incorporated in UK REACH]

Plastic Waste Shipment (EU)

On 22nd December 2020 the EU adopted new rules on the export, import and intra-EU shipment of plastic waste – here. [these changes are not yet in the CONSLEG consolidated law version uploaded on Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklist, and the updated law will be added shortly]

The new rules ban the export of plastic waste from the EU to non-OECD countries, except for clean plastic waste sent for recycling. Exporting plastic waste from the EU to OECD countries and imports in the EU will also be more strictly controlled.

The new rules entered into force on 1 January 2021. They apply to exports, imports and intra-EU shipments of plastic waste: [see below per the EU news announcement]

Exports from the EU

• Exporting hazardous plastic waste and plastic waste that is hard to recycle from the EU to non-OECD countries will be banned.

• Exporting clean, non-hazardous waste (which is destined for recycling) from the EU to non-OECD countries will only be authorised under specific conditions. The importing country must indicate which rules apply to such imports to the European Commission. The export from the EU will then only be allowed under the conditions laid down by the importing country. For countries which do not provide information on their legal regime, the “prior notification and consent procedure” will apply.

• Exporting hazardous plastic waste and plastic waste that is hard to recycle from the EU to OECD countries will be subject to the “prior notification and consent procedure”. Under this procedure, both the importing and exporting country must authorise the shipment.

Imports into the EU

• Importing hazardous plastic waste and plastic waste that is hard to recycle into the EU from third countries will be subject to the “prior notification and consent procedure”. Under this procedure, both the importing and exporting country must authorise the shipment.

Intra-EU shipments

• The “prior notification and consent procedure” will also apply to intra-EU shipments of hazardous plastic waste, and of non-hazardous plastic waste that is difficult to recycle.

• All intra-EU shipments of non-hazardous waste for recovery will be exempt from these new controls. 

These new rules amend the EU’s Waste Shipment Regulation (EU Waste Transhipment Regulation) and implement the decision taken by 187 countries in May 2019 at the Conference of the Parties of the Basel Convention. This Basel decision set up a global regime governing international trade in plastic waste for the first time, by including new entries on plastic waste in the Annexes of the Convention.

The EU ban on exports outside the OECD of plastic waste that is difficult to recycle, goes further than the requirements of the Basel Convention.

[Note: the UK is outside the EU, it did update its International Waste Shipment Regulation to incorporate a prior notification and consent process effective 1st Jan 2021 – see Cardinal Environment Registers and Checklists – but it did not implement a ban on exports of plastic waste to non-OECD. DEFRA – The government had “pledged to ban the export of all plastic waste to non-OECD countries”, but no timetable for action exists. Research is commissioned to better understand existing UK plastic waste recycling capacity and DEFRA would consult in due course on how to deliver its manifesto commitments.]

European Climate Law (EU)

Today saw the publication of the conclusions of the December meeting of the European Council. On the matter of Climate Change, the European Council endorsed a binding EU target of a net domestic reduction of at least 55% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990, tasking the co-legislators to reflect this new target in the European Climate Law proposal and to adopt the latter swiftly.

The EU’s nationally determined contribution (NDC) will be updated according to the new binding target and submitted to the UNFCCC secretariat by the end of the year (ahead of COP 26 – the 2021 UN Climate Change Conference).

Information on the European Climate Law is here. (note, it’s a proposal)

Ecodesign – External Power Supplies (EU)

A 2009 dated EU Directive 2009/125/EC establishes a framework for the setting of ecodesign requirements for energy-related products. Separate EU Regulations set ecodesign specifies for individual product groups within this framework.

A 2009 dated EU Regulation (EC) No 278/2009 set the ecodesign requirements for external power supplies, and this is now reviewed and updated.

EU Regulation (EU) 2019/1782 now sets the new ecodesign requirements for external power supplies from 1st April 2020 (and Regulation (EC) No 278/2009 is repealed from that date). The new EU Regulation is here. It specifies energy efficiency requirements.

EU Regulation (EU) 2019/1782 applies to all external supplies as defined in Article 2, except a short list set out in Article 1.

The updated European Regulation applies to the EU member states, including the UK (where it will be regarded as Retained EU Law).

New – European Climate Law (EU)

The EU has today launched a Proposal for a new Regulation establishing a framework for achieving climate neutrality (European Climate Law) – here.

This new Regulation proposes a legally binding target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and binds the EU Institutions and the Member States to take the necessary measures at EU and national level to meet the target.

The new Regulation includes measures to keep track of progress and adjust actions accordingly, based on existing systems such as the governance process for Member States’ National Energy and Climate Plans, regular reports by the European Environment Agency, and the latest scientific evidence on climate change and its impacts.

Progress will be reviewed every five years, in line with the global stocktake exercise under the Paris Agreement.

The new Regulation also sets steps to get to the 2050 target:

• Based on a comprehensive impact assessment, the Commission will propose a new EU target for 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reductions. This part of the proposed Regulation will be amended once the impact assessment is completed.

• By June 2021, the Commission will review, and where necessary propose to revise, all relevant policy instruments to deliver the additional emissions reductions for 2030.

• The Commission proposes the adoption of a 2030-2050 EU-wide trajectory for greenhouse gas emission reductions, to measure progress and give predictability to public authorities, businesses and citizens.

• By September 2023, and every five years thereafter, the Commission will assess the consistency of EU and national measures with the climate-neutrality objective and the 2030-2050 trajectory.

• The Commission will be empowered to issue Recommendations to Member States whose actions are inconsistent with the climate-neutrality objective, and Member States will be obliged to take due account of these Recommendations or to explain their reasoning if they fail to do so.

• Member States will also be required to develop and implement adaptation strategies to strengthen resilience and reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change.

The next step for the proposed Regulation is consideration by the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions under the ordinary legislative procedure.

EU Single-Use Plastics Directive (UK alignment)

From 1st January 2021, the UK is outside the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement transition period.

Northern Ireland – EU Law on goods (includes Environment) continues to apply.

Scotland – a ban on cotton buds is already in place

England – plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds ban will come into force in April 2020

Wales – the Welsh government will consult

The EU Single-Use Plastics Directive was published in 2019, Member States have two years to implement, some aspects a bit longer – here.

The 2019 Directive mandates a reduction in the consumption of the single-use plastic products listed in Part A of the Annex, in line with the overall objectives of the EU’s waste policy, in particular waste prevention, leading to a substantial reversal of increasing consumption trends. The measures (put in place in member states) should achieve a measurable quantitative reduction in the consumption of the single-use plastic products listed in Part A of the Annex on the territory of the Member State by 2026 compared to 2022.

The 2019 Directive also mandates a ban on the placing on the market of the single-use plastic products listed in Part B of the Annex and of products made from oxo-degradable plastic.

The 2019 Directive also obliges Member States to ensure that single-use plastic products listed in Part C of the Annex that have caps and lids made of plastic may be placed on the market only if the caps and lids remain attached to the containers during the products’ intended use stage.

The 2019 Directive sets out further measures.

Circular Economy Waste Package (Ireland)

The Circular Economy Waste Package is a collection of directives from the EU which have to be translated into EU member state law:

* Directive (EU) 2018/851 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 2008/98/EC on waste

* Directive (EU) 2018/850 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 1999/31/EC on the landfill of waste

* Directive (EU) 2018/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 May 2018 amending Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste

* Directive (EU) 2018/849 of 30 May 2018 amending Directives 2000/53/EC on end-of-life vehicles, 2006/66/EC on batteries and accumulators and waste batteries and accumulators, and 2012/19/EU on waste electrical and electronic equipment

These directives, which will amend the existing legislation of EU member states, increase current waste-management targets while introducing some new ones. They strengthen requirements around waste prevention, extend producer responsibility, and streamline definitions, while reporting on obligations and calculation methods for targets.

I blog posted about these amendments a while back. The consolidated EU Directives are supplied in Cardinal EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists (paid subscribers will have access to, as tailored).

EU Member States, including Ireland, are required to transpose these four directives into national law by 5 July 2020.

On 30th December 2019, the Irish Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment announced it is seeking views on this transposition process through a public consultation.

Along with the four directives mentioned above, the Single Use Plastic Directive (EU 2019/904) (SUP Directive) is also going to be transposed into national law, by 5 July 2021. This directive contains enhanced provisions to those contained in the Circular Economy Waste Package. I blog posted about this Directive as well, and it will be added to paid subscribers Registers & Checklists systems.

Given the links between the directives, Ireland is also seeking views on the transposition of the SUP Directive.

The deadline for consultation is 5pm, Friday 21, February, 2020.

The consultation document is – here.

Drinking Water Directive (EU)

Provisional agreement on revision of the EU Drinking Water Directive was reached on 19th December.

The proposal updates to the latest changes to WHO safety standards.

Further details are here.

UK – if the revised EU Directive is published before 31st December, which it is likely to be, then it will apply in the UK (but local law would have to be updated).