Environment Bill (published) – Part 4 (England & UK Part)

The Bill is here. 130 Clauses in 8 Parts, and 20 Schedules.

The Explanatory Memorandum is here.

The Environment Bill (“the Bill”) is comprised of two thematic halves.

(1) A legal framework for environmental governance once the UK leaves the EU.

This was earlier published in part as the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill on 19 December 2018, fulfilling a legal obligation set out in section 16 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The measures published at that time related only to environmental principles and governance, and placing the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan on a statutory footing.

I posted two Blog posts about this (Brexit) – one on Parts 1&2 and one on the Environment Bill changing UK REACH (Brexit Law).

(2) Provision for specific improvement of the environment, including measures on waste and resource efficiency, air quality and environmental recall, water, nature and biodiversity, and conservation covenants.

SPECIFIC IMPROVEMENT of the ENVIRONMENT

Part 4 – Air Quality and Environmental Recall Part of the Environment Bill – includes –

amending Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 (which creates the Local Air Quality Management Framework) to strengthen the requirements in respect of the National Air Quality Strategy, including a requirement for it to be regularly reviewed;

amending the Local Air Quality Management Framework to clarify duties and enable greater cooperation between different levels of local government, and other relevant public bodies, in the preparation of Local Air Quality Action Plans;

amending Part III of the Clean Air Act 1993 to enable quicker, simpler and more proportionate enforcement of Smoke Control Areas, a key means by which local authorities can control pollution from domestic solid fuel burning;

Specifically – Schedule 13 would amend the Clean Air Act 1993 to give local authorities the power to impose financial penalties for the emission of smoke in smoke control areas (SCAs) in England. This means that the emission of smoke from a chimney of a building or a chimney (not being a chimney of a building) that serves the furnace of any fixed boiler or industrial plant in an SCA in England will change from being a criminal offence to instead being subject to a civil penalty notice (a fine).

The change will remove the current statutory defences that are making enforcement by local authorities very challenging, and reduce the burden and cost associated with enforcing SCAs.

– amending Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) to remove the private dwelling exemption (from statutory nuisance enforcement), enabling a local authority in England to pursue somebody who emits smoke from a private dwelling in a Smoke Control Area where it is prejudicial to human health or causing a nuisance.

– removing the limit on the fine for the offence of selling controlled solid fuels for delivery (leaving it to the discretion of the Magistrate’s Court), and creating a new duty on retailers to notify customers of the law regarding the acquisition of controlled solid fuels in England, to help raise consumer awareness and improve compliance.

providing for mandatory recall notices for vehicles and equipment that do not comply with relevant environmental standards and for fines to be issued when a minimum recall rate is not met.

As a Bill, this document would need to pass both Houses of Parliament to enter the statute books. You note, I pegged this as England.

However, some Clauses are intended to have effect outside England – see page 194 of the Explanatory Memorandum which has a table.

If the Bill enters the statute books, the provisions then need to be commenced, some may be commenced immediately, such as those that are needed directly for EU Exit, but there could be a substantive delay in the commencement of other Part, such as Part 4.

I will issue further Blog posts, please look out for them.

Company Vehicles & Plastic Cotton Buds (Scotland)

The Scottish Government has introduced the following 2 laws :

(1) The Environmental Protection (Cotton Buds) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 – here.

In force from 12th October 2019, they ban the manufacture and sale of plastic stemmed cotton buds in Scotland.

(2) The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 – here.

This Act introduces low emission zones and workplace parking licensing (Section 4A). Note the consultation provisions.

These laws will be in the next Scotland Email Alert, and will be introduced onto subscribers’ systems shortly.

UK Temporary Import Tariff Regime (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (this date is in a Statutory Instrument)

Today (8th October) the UK republished it’s temporary Import Tariff Regime that will apply in a no-deal Brexit.

Here

[this Blog does not focus on Customs or VAT]

It is mostly unchanged from the March version. Three aspects have changes – affecting HGVs, bioethanol and clothing –

• lower tariffs on HGVs entering the UK market, striking a better balance between the needs of British producers and the SMEs that make up the UK haulage industry, ensuring that crucial fleet replacement programmes that help to lower carbon emissions can continue

• adjusted tariffs on bioethanol to retain support for UK producers, as the supply of this fuel is important to critical national infrastructure

• tariffs applied to additional clothing products to ensure the preferential access to the UK market currently available to developing countries (compared to other countries) is maintained.

Update on GB stickers (NI Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (for the moment)

I posted yesterday with Warning re Get Ready Brexit Checker, and I said the reader should check in-country (the receiving country).

Statement from @deptinfra on GB stickers (posted by @DarranMarshal, twitter)

“The requirement that all UK motorists driving in Ireland should display a GB sticker stems from the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. It is not an EU requirement & is not affected by Brexit.”

UK Get Ready Brexit Checker says all UK vehicles will be required to have a GB sticker when travelling in the Republic post Brexit.

Northern Ireland’s Department of Infrastructure statement:

“We are not aware of any occasion when this has been enforced by the Irish government.”

EU Fuel VAT reclaim (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October

This Blog does not cover Customs and Excise. The information below comes from the Road Haulage Association (RHA) – here.

UK based International Operators will still be able to claim refunds of VAT on fuel bought in EU member states.

Follow the processes for non-EU countries to do the claim.

EU information is here.

Check with individual EU countries.

Some EU countries may require the appointment of an in-country tax representative to obtain the refunds.

International Road Haulage (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October.

Instructions are now updated re International Road Haulage –

(1) EC Community Licences for International Haulage – here.

(2) International Road Haulage : operator licences and permits – here.

(3) ECMT international road haulage permits – here.

The instruction states (correctly) – most international journeys can be completed until 31 December 2019 without ECMT permit.

The instruction does not state, however, this is due to an EU temporary Brexit waiver rule. The instruction makes no mention of applying to the EU to roll this over.

(4) Carry out international road haulage after Brexit – here.

UK Brexit Preparedness – Medicines (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (127 days)

Today, 26th June, sees the following :

(1) Ministerial Statement – here

(2) Letter to Suppliers re Medicines – here

Ministerial Statement – extracts

Guaranteeing the supply of critical ‘category 1’ goods, including medicines, medical products, veterinary medicines and chemicals remains an essential element of the Government’s No Deal contingency planning. The Government is therefore undertaking steps to secure freight capacity for suppliers of these goods in a No Deal scenario.

The Department of Health and Social Care is starting the process of setting up an express freight contingency arrangement to support continuity of supply of medicines and medical products. This will be an urgent contingency measure for products requiring urgent delivery, within a 24-48 hour timeframe, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. This express freight contingency arrangement forms part of the Department’s multi-layered approach, which includes rerouting medical supplies from the short strait crossings, extra warehouse space, stockpiling, buffer stocks, clarifying regulatory requirements, supporting traders to have all necessary paperwork in place at the border, and strengthening the processes used to deal with shortages to ensure that patients have uninterrupted access to medicines and medical products if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. Government will only pay for capacity as and when it is needed and used. This will be designed to cover all of the UK. The Department will be writing to industry to set out further details of these preparations.

The Department for Transport is putting in place a freight capacity framework agreement that will provide government departments with the ability to secure freight capacity for our critical supply chains as and when required. This framework does not commit the Government to purchasing or reserving any freight capacity, but it does provide a flexible list of operators and options for the provision of the capacity that can be drawn upon if needed.

In the coming months, the Government will make further announcements on its preparations for a possible No Deal Exit on 31 October, including on trade continuity agreements to limit disruption to our trade with third countries after we leave the EU.

Letter to Suppliers re Medicines – extracts

All no-deal preparedness plans should contain a mix of the following, depending on each company’s specific situation:

–  Secured capacity for rerouting freight away from the short straits after no-deal exit day, in order to avoid the worst restrictions on flow outlined above.

–  Stockpiling product above and beyond business-as-usual inventory levels; as a default, this is recommended as six weeks’ stock above business as usual inventory, the same as last time.

–  Assurance on the readiness of a company’s logistics and supply chains to meet the new customs and border requirements for both import and export (sometimes referred to as “trader readiness”).

Where companies have not yet done so [made a plan] the Government asks that they build a plan which includes a stockpile of an additional six weeks’ supply in the UK, on top of operational buffer stocks, in addition to developing a robust re-routing plan away from the short straits. As before, for products with a short shelf life or where production constraints mean stockpiling is not possible, for example, medical radioisotopes, we ask for alternative air freight plans to be made.

In the coming days, companies will be asked to provide information at product level, focused on the minimum key data set necessary for assurance of the programme. This will build on information from the 29th March exercise, including stock levels expected to be held on 31st October and plans for re-routing away from the short straits.