New Vehicle Emission Charges (London)

From Monday, the new T-Charge (Toxicity Charge) will apply in London’s congestion charge zone. This will apply to cars, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and heavy good vehicles. The daily T-Charge will be additional to the Congestion Charge. The T-Charge will end when the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) is in force (April 2019). The ULEZ will operate 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. The ULEZ standards will be additional to the Congestion Charge and Low Emission Zone requirements at that time. 

Further Information is here

Congestion Charge and T-Charge hours of operation : Monday – Friday, 07:00 – 18:00 – excludes Bank Holidays and the period between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day inclusive.

Vehicles included

Cars, vans, minibuses, buses, coaches and HGVs, motorised caravans and horseboxes, breakdown and recovery vehicles, private ambulances, motor hearses, dual purpose vehicles and other specialist vehicle types that do not meet the minimum Euro emission standards are subject to the T-Charge. These standards are for cars – Euro 4 (see the further information link). 

Exemptions

Motorcycles, mopeds and scooters that are exempt from the Congestion Charge are also exempt from the T-Charge. 

Taxis and private hire vehicles (PHVs) are exempt from paying the Congestion Charge and the T-Charge when actively licensed with TfL. The exemption for PHVs only applies to private hire bookings.

Other exemptions include : 

(1) Vehicles with a historic tax class (40 years and older) and/or commercial vehicles manufactured before 1973. These vehicles continue to be subject to the Congestion Charge

(2) Two-wheeled motorbikes (and sidecars) and mopeds that are exempt from the Congestion Charge

(3) Emergency service vehicles, such as ambulances and fire engines, which have a taxation class of ‘ambulance’ or ‘fire engine’ on the date of travel

(4) NHS vehicles exempt from vehicle excise duty, and Ministry of Defence vehicles

(5) Roadside recovery vehicles and accredited breakdown vehicles registered for a 100% discount from the Congestion Charge

(6) Specialist off-road vehicles such as tractors and mobile cranes (that are exempt from Low Emission Zone)

Motorised tricycles and quadricycles that are subject to the Congestion Charge are also affected. Motorcycles are not subject to the T-Charge.
9+ seater vehicles that are currently registered for a discount or are exempt from paying the charge will need to meet the required emissions standards or pay the T-Charge.

Nuclear Safety Standards (Euratom/EU)

I blog posted recently about the UK Nuclear Safeguards Bill (a UK Brexit Bill). This Bill does not cover radiation health rules (which are also regulated by EU/Euratom). 

The Euratom/European Union Basic Safety Standards Directive 2013 (BSSD) sets out updated safety requirements for the nuclear and radiological sector; the deadline for transposition of these into UK law is 6 February 2018

The BSSD 2013 updates the 1996 BSSD that is included in subscribers’ Cardinal Environment OHS Register 601. It simplifies existing Euratom provisions for protection against harmful effects of ionising radiation, and consolidates those provisions in line with the latest international standards.

The UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for coordinating the transposition of the Directive across Government, there are five workstreams to the Directive: emergency preparedness and response, medical exposures, public exposures, occupational exposures, and air and space crew where compliance is necessary.

The emergency response and public exposures requirements of BSSD are led by BEIS and occupational exposure requirements are led by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

The intention is to use the powers in the Health and Safety at Work Act and the Energy Act 2012 to make the required legislative changes within the Radiation (Emergency Preparedness and Public Information) Regulations (REPPIR) 2001 and the Carriage of Dangerous Goods Regulations (CDG) 2009 and the Ionising Radiation Regulations 1999 (IRR99).

HSE has now consulted on occupational exposures policy and are finalising the proposed changes to the IRRs (this document is here); BEIS has launched a consultation on emergency preparedness and response policy with suggested changes to REPPIR & CDG (see here). BEIS is also planning to launch a consultation on the public exposures elements of the Directive.

The other workstreams are led by different Government departments, with medical exposures being led by the Department for Health and air and space crew by the Department for Transport.

Re Brexit : it is presumed these rules will be dealt with under the EU Withdrawal Bill (a key UK Brexit Bill), once it is enacted, since they are not dealt with under the Nuclear Safeguards Bill. 

Subscribers to Cardinal EHS Legislation Registers will see Email Alerts re the changes to the CDG and IRR99. 

Nuclear Safeguards Bill (UK)

The Nuclear Safeguards Bill was given its First Reading on 11th October, and its Second Reading (a debate stage) will take place on Monday. This Bill is found here

[please note, amendments could be made to this Bill, most notably to the way in which regulations will be enacted]

When enacted, it will :

(1) put in place the legal framework for a nuclear safeguards regime to operate in the UK. This domestic regime will replace the current legal framework provided principally by the UK’s membership of the European Atomic Energy Community (“Euratom”). Nuclear safeguards arrangements enable the UK to meet international nuclear safeguards standards and engage in certain international civil nuclear activities, including trade and research and development.

Nuclear safeguards primarily involve reporting and verification processes by which the UK demonstrates to the international community that civil nuclear material is not diverted into military or weapons programmes. Nuclear safeguard procedures can include accountancy and reporting on civil nuclear material holdings and development plans, verification (including inspections of nuclear facilities by international inspectors), containment measures and surveillance (including cameras in selected facilities). Nuclear safeguards are distinct from nuclear safety (the prevention of nuclear accidents) and nuclear security (physical protection measures), which are the subject of independent regulatory provisions.

(2) amend the Energy Act 2013 to replace the existing nuclear safeguards purposes of the Office of Nuclear Regulation (“ONR”). The ONR is the UK’s nuclear regulator. The ONR has five purposes which define its areas of responsibility and where it will be able to exercise functions. Currently, the nuclear safeguards purposes of the ONR is defined by reference to Euratom and existing agreements with the International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA”) (which also depend on membership of Euratom). The new nuclear safeguards purposes of the ONR will require it to ensure compliance with regulations on nuclear safeguards made by the Secretary of State and to ensure compliance of the United Kingdom with international agreements relating to nuclear safeguards.

(3) provide powers to the Secretary of State to make nuclear safeguards regulations, which will set out the detail of the domestic regime for nuclear safeguards. The regulation‐making power can also be used to implement the new international agreements the United Kingdom envisages concluding (for example, with the IAEA).

(4) provide a regulation‐making power to the Secretary of State to amend certain legislation (including primary legislation) which make reference to parts of existing agreements on nuclear safeguards between the IAEA and the United Kingdom. These references will need to be updated when the existing agreements with the IAEA are replaced with new ones (which are currently being negotiated).

NOTE

Following its notification to the European Commission, the Government set out its intention to legislate to put in place a domestic safeguards regime operated by the existing nuclear regulator, the ONR. The ONR currently performs inspections on United Kingdom nuclear facilities for a range of purposes safety and security (and it has a complementary role supporting Euratom’s and the IAEA’s work in respect of nuclear safeguards).

The new domestic safeguards regime will replace the current regime operated by Euratom that will cease to have effect in the UK in 2019. The Queen’s Speech on 21 June 2017 included a Nuclear Safeguards Bill. 

The detail of the current European safeguards regime is set out in Commission Regulation (Euratom) No. 302/2005 of 8 February 2005 on the application of Euratom safeguards (“the Euratom Regulation”), made under the Euratom Treaty. The Euratom Regulation imposes the detailed technical requirements on those holding civil nuclear material and takes effect automatically in United Kingdom law by virtue of the European Communities Act 1972 (without specific domestic implementing legislation).

The Energy Act 2013 established the ONR as the United Kingdom’s independent nuclear regulatory body in 2014 (with certain functions having rested with the Health and Safety Executive). The Energy Act 2013 currently sets out the purposes of the ONR, which define the five areas of regulatory responsibility: those relating to nuclear safety, nuclear health and safety, nuclear security, nuclear safeguards, and transport of radioactive material. In addition to this section 74 of the Energy Act 2013 provides for the Secretary of State to make regulations (known as “nuclear regulations”) for four of the ONR’s purposes, including the nuclear safeguards purposes.

Under section 72 of the Energy Act 2013 the “nuclear safeguards purposes” means the purposes of (a) ensuring compliance by the United Kingdom with the safeguards obligations and (b) the development of any future safeguards obligations. “The safeguards obligations” is then defined by section 93(2) of the Energy Act 2013 by reference to the European Euratom system. 

As a result, the UK’s safeguards regime generally, and the ONR’s nuclear safeguards purposes specifically, are fundamentally underpinned by the United Kingdom’s membership of Euratom. Euratom is a party to the United Kingdom’s two main agreements with the IAEA (and many of the United Kingdom’s obligations to the IAEA are discharged by virtue of membership of Euratom). As such, the United Kingdom existing nuclear safeguards regime will become ineffective on the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Euratom Treaty.

This Bill confers a regulation‐making power which will enable the Secretary of State to put in place the detailed requirements that are necessary for a nuclear safeguards regime, including by imposing obligations on those who hold nuclear materials. The regulation‐making power can be used to implement the new international agreements the UK envisages concluding (for example, with the IAEA). The power can also be used to impose domestic standards.

The ONR’s nuclear safeguards purposes are amended to reflect the fact that the obligations it will be responsible for ensuring compliance with will be contained within domestic regulations and new international agreements (rather than the Euratom Regulation). The ONR, rather than the European Commission, will become the regulator.

The nature of safeguards regimes is such that the substantive provisions are detailed and technical in nature. This will be the case for the domestic safeguards regime put in place under the powers in the Bill. The majority of this detail will be laid out in regulations which will, on first use, be subject to the affirmative resolution procedure. These regulations will place obligations on those responsible for “qualifying nuclear material”, “qualifying nuclear facilities” and “qualifying nuclear equipment”, including in respect of: record‐keeping and accounting, the provision of information, inspection and monitoring, imports and exports, the design of qualifying nuclear facilities or equipment and the production, processing, use, handling , storage or disposal of qualifying nuclear material or equipment.

In addition to the provisions of the Energy Act 2013 there are additional pieces of legislation (i.e. the Nuclear Safeguards and Electricity (Finance) Act 1978, the Nuclear Safeguards Act 2000 and the Nuclear Safeguards (Notification) Regulations 2004) that implement the United Kingdom’s existing nuclear safeguards obligations. These will not operate properly after the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from Euratom due to their detailed references to provisions of the United Kingdom’s existing nuclear safeguards agreements with the IAEA. The consequential amendments necessary to these pieces of legislation will depend on new safeguards agreements between the United Kingdom and the IAEA that are currently being negotiated; as such the United Kingdom will need to maintain flexibility to ensure these future agreements can be implemented in domestic legislation. A power to allow this legislation to be amended in this way is taken in clause 2 of the Bill.

MONEY

Establishing and operating the new regime by the ONR in line with the regulations that will be made under the powers in the Bill will require public expenditure. The costs to set up a UK domestic safeguards regime (which are not finalised) are potentially up to £10m. This would include procurement of a new IT system, recruitment and training of a large number of inspectors and strengthening institutional capacity to deliver the project. This cost can be met from within BEIS’s Spending Review allocations. The cost of any equipment currently in the UK but belonging to Euratom is a matter currently under negotiation with the European Union. The regime is also likely to involve an ongoing cost of around £10m a year, which is in line with the UK’s current cost of Euratom safeguards activity in the United Kingdom.

Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers contain the Euratom rules on radiation health impacts in OHS Register 601 – this Bill will be added the Brexit Law List that subscribers will begin to notice added to their systems shortly. Earlier Blog posts refer to this Cardinal Brexit Law List. 

UPDATE : see related Blog post in Nuclear Safety Standards (Euratom/EU)

Clean Growth Strategy (UK)

Published this morning, 165 pages setting out the areas of new policy and rules for all UK, the BEIS Clean Growth Strategy (persuant to sections 12 and 14 of the Climate Change Act 2008) is here

Key points of relevance to industrial energy and environment (your ISO compliant Energy Registers) are as follows :

(1) Re the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) covering the “traded sector” (power, heavy industry and intra EEA aviation) which collectively account for around 40 per cent of UK emissions under carbon budgets – the document confirms commitment to reducing emissions in these sectors and states the UK already has a “range of domestic policies in place to support this”. 

The document statement is “we will seek to ensure that our future approach is at least as ambitious as the existing scheme and provide a smooth transition for the relevant sectors”.

Note : the document states “the Government is considering the UK’s future participation in the EU ETS after our exit from the EU and we remain firmly committed to carbon pricing as an emissions reduction tool whilst ensuring energy and trade intensive businesses are appropriately protected from any detrimental impacts on competitiveness”.  

Carbon prices for the 2020s will be set out in the 2017 Autumn Budget. 

(2) For sectors not covered by the EU ETS, the document states two sector policies operate at EU rather than UK level and are particularly important for driving emissions reductions – new car and van CO2 regulations, and EU “fluorinated gas quotas”

The document statement is “we remain committed to reducing emissions in these areas and will offer certainty to industry as soon as possible on our future relationship with the EU. We will seek to ensure our future approach is at least as ambitious as the current arrangements”. 
(3) Re EU products policy which sets minimum standards for a range of products such as white goods and lighting, which improve energy efficiency (NB: I put a recent post about EU Ecodesign) –

The document statement is “we continue to support these policy measures, which cut energy bills, increase energy security, reduce emissions and help customers make informed choices, and we will keep step with equivalent standards wherever possible and appropriate, or even exceed them where it is in the UK’s interest to do so. This may include products not yet covered by European legislation, such as smart appliances”. 

(4) Re Non-energy and climate EU frameworks and policies which affect the UK, such as the Common Agricultural Policy. 

The document statement is “for instance, we will take the opportunity of leaving the Common Agricultural Policy to address climate change more directly by designing a new system to support the future of farming and the countryside, with a strong focus on delivering better environmental outcomes, including tackling climate change”.

Note : the proposal is to work with the British Standards Institution (BSI) to develop a set of voluntary green and sustainable finance management standards to promote responsible investment practices globally. The BSI will have completed the necessary standards scoping exercises and have the first standard in production by the first half of 2018.

Note : the document states the Government will put in place a “simpler, more ambitious and long-term policy and regulatory framework“, to –

(A) “make it easier for businesses to identify where they can save energy by simplifying the energy and carbon reporting framework” (this will entail changes to local law – please follow this Blog – when the law changes occur – please look out for Email Alerts)

(B) “ensure that those who lease premises to businesses, including in the service sector, continue to refurbish and improve the performance of their buildings. In parallel, all new commercial and industrial buildings should be more energy efficient”.

(C) “help to understand how we can encourage greater investment in energy efficiency measures and technologies, including establishing an Industrial Energy Efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use, and working with the financial sector to identify how such measures can be taken forward”.

“Energy intensive industries will require steps beyond energy efficiency. Out to 2030, this will require industry to make progress in switching from fossil fuel use to low carbon fuels such as sustainable biomass, in line with broader Government priorities on delivering clean air, and clean electricity. Beyond 2030, this switching will need to substantially increase in scale and be coupled with the deployment of new technologies, for example carbon capture, usage and storage (CCUS). Over the course of this Parliament, we will therefore also develop a framework to support the decarbonisation of heavy industry. Overall, one possible pathway to 2032 could involve emissions from business and industry falling by around 30 per cent on today’s levels to as low as 83 Mt by 2032″.

Summary Local Schemes – the document states the Government will :

(1) continue with plans to close the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme following the 2018-19 compliance year. “We will drive energy efficiency by implementing the previously announced increase to the main rates of the Climate Change Levy from 2019.” (see the 2016 changes to the Finance Act 2000 (as amended) – I did not send out an Email Alert at the time).

(2) undertake an evaluation of the Climate Change Agreements to inform any successor scheme from 2023.

(3) build on existing schemes such as the Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS), undertaking a comprehensive assessment of its effectiveness and consider any future reforms.

(4) (alongside this Strategy), consult on a new and streamlined energy and carbon reporting framework to replace some existing schemes, such as the reporting element of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, and align with mandatory annual greenhouse gas reporting by UK quoted companies. This will improve the way in which businesses report their energy use, and provide businesses with the information needed to identify how they can reduce energy bills. (The document states this consultation is underway – please check with BEIS). 

(5) establish an Industrial Energy Efficiency scheme to help large companies install measures to cut their energy use and their bills.

Note : The Government has commissioned an independent review of Building Regulations and fire safety, being led by Dame Judith Hackitt. The review will report in spring 2018. Subject to the conclusions of that review, the Government intends to consult on making improvements to Building Regulations requirements for new and existing commercial buildings where there are “cost- effective and affordable opportunities, and it is safe and practical to do so”. This will look to promote low carbon and higher energy efficent heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in new commercial buildings.

European Union (Withdrawal) Bill 2017-2019 (UK)

The Second Reading of this first Brexit Bill has begun in the House of Commons (as I write this, the Sec of State DExEU is on his feet introducing the Second Reading). The Bill is here.

I posted before when this was introduced at First Reading. In the intervening time, the House of Commons Library has published a useful detailed account of the Bill. This useful account is here.  UPDATE : this briefing document is not found 

Substantive changes can be expected to the current UK statute database, as a result of the implementation of this Bill. As we go forward, my intention is to corral the Brexit law in a separate place on everyone’s Registers System. Please make sure you follow this Blog, as I post how the Brexit law will affect the current UK statute database as made available in your Registers. 

This is an exhaustive and immense process, and there may be delays. Please keep following this Blog for updates.

Email Alerts will be issued when changes occur to the current law in your Registers. This Blog will advise on the Brexit law that I will make available in the separate linked place I spoke about (this will be at the top right on OHS, and ENV Registers index pages). Those who have Law Checklists : the Brexit law link will appear just below the links to the Law Checklists.

Please address any questions by email to me. 

Plastic Microbeads in Cosmetics Ban (UK)

UPDATE 3rd August : the 2017 Regulations are now notified to the EU and to the WTO. The EU notification gives detail, and is here

A few days ago, the DEFRA Secretary of State confirmed the UK will introduce a ban on plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products. Following consultation, the proposals are summarised :

(1) the ban on manufacture (England) will start 1st Jan 2018 and the ban on sale (England) will start 30th June 2018

(2) precise definitions of “microbead”, “plastic” and “rinse-off personal care product” have been developed to clearly define the scope of the ban

(3) the scope of rinse-off products will be as set out in the consultation, but DEFRA is additionally working with the Hazardous Substances Advisory Committee (HSAC) to assess the case for addressing further categories of products

(4) Trading Standards will be the regulator to manage compliance and enforcement in England

(5) enforcement in England will be carried out through a range of sanctions including variable monetary penalties, compliance notices, stop notices and enforcement undertakings

(6) the Devolved Administrations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) will consider appropriate enforcement mechanisms, regulators and timescales according to devolution settlements.

The summary of DEFRA responses is here.

Legislation is expected by the end of 2017. This is a UK initiative, and is unconnected with the EU. 

Medium Combustion Plants and Generators (UK)

The Medium Combustion Plant (European) Directive (MCPD) is an instrument targeted at reducing air pollution by bringing in emission controls for combustion plants in the 1-50MWth range. 

The MCPD was supported by the UK as it will deliver a cost-effective improvement in air quality. The Directive requires all plants in scope to be registered or permitted and sets limits on the levels of pollutants that these plants can emit according to their type, size, age, fuel type and annual operating hours. It also requires operators to test emissions from their plants to demonstrate compliance with emission limits. The MCPD must be transposed into UK law by 19 December 2017. The controls will apply to new plants from December 2018. Existing plants must comply with requirements from 2024 or 2029, depending largely on size. Full implementation will be achieved in 2030. This legislation will be implemented in the UK

The European MCPD will be added to ENV Air in the Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers and Checklists.

Consultation has occurred in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The consultation response is published (England and Wales) here

England : the Environment Agency will be appointed as the regulator in England. For higher risk plants, where the impact on local air quality must be assessed to determine permit conditions, Local Authorities will be consulted. The Environment Agency will consult on fees and charges as part of its strategic review of charges. 

Wales : the Welsh government is considering the matter of regulatory responsibility in relation to plant in Wales.

Note

(1) not all less than 1MW plant will be permitted

(2) control will be via the Environmental Permitting regime (England and Wales), there will be no change to other legislation