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Fortnightly Bulletin – 10th October 2022

10 October 2022

Nature reserve

Legal Updates

Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill

Also known as the ‘Brexit Freedoms Bill’, this Bill includes proposed powers to automatically revoke all retained direct EU legislation and EU-derived subordinate legislation at the end of 2023. Specific regulations may be revoked after this date,  but no later than 2026.

This could have implications for hundreds of environmental laws that were established under EU Law and carried over to UK Law after Brexit.

The Bill is awaiting its second reading in the House of Commons.

Click here for access to this Bill.

Guidance

Storing Fly-Tipped Waste and Waste From Trash Screens and Litter Bins: RPS 60

This regulatory position statement (RPS) relates to temporarily storing the following waste on land other than where it was produced before its collection for recovery or disposal:

It remains a legal requirement to get an environmental permit for this activity. However, the Environment Agency are not likely to take enforcement action if the requirements of this RPS are met.

This enforcement position does not apply to any other legal requirements

Click here to access the guidance.

Registering as a Small Packaging Producer Using the Allocation Method: RPS 230

This regulatory position statement (RPS) relates to the registration of small packaging producers. It applies to those who choose to calculate their recovery and recycling obligations using the allocation method.

It remains a legal requirement to register and meet your recovery and recycling obligations. However, the Environment Agency are not likely to take enforcement action if the requirements of this RPS are met.

This enforcement position does not apply to any other legal requirements.

Click here to access the guidance.

Storing and Dewatering Non-Hazardous Iron Ochre Sludge From Abandoned Coal Mines: RPS 262

This regulatory position statement (RPS) relates to storing and dewatering non-hazardous iron ochre sludge produced from treating discharges to water from abandoned coal mines.

It remains a legal requirement to get an environmental permit when you store and dewater non-hazardous iron ochre sludge produced in settlement lagoons at an abandoned coal mine water treatment scheme. However, the Environment Agency are not likely to take enforcement action when you do this without a permit, if the requirements of this RPS are met.

This enforcement position does not apply to any other legal requirements.

Click here to access the guidance.

Articles of Interest

UK Power Station Cutting Down Environmentally-Important Forests

A UK power station that burns millions of tonnes of imported wood pellets, which is classed as renewable energy, has received £6 billion in green energy subsidies. The company say they only burn sawdust and waste wood.

However, a Panorama investigation has found that the company is sourcing wood from primary forests in Canada. This was discovered by analysing satellite images, tracing logging licences and using drone filming. Reporter Joe Crowley also followed a truck from the company’s mill to verify it was picking up whole logs from an area of precious forest.

The panorama investigation also found that the company had bought logging licences to cut down two areas of environmentally-important forest in British Colombia, including a rare, old-growth forest.

The company claimed that many trees in that area had died and that logging would reduce the risk of wildfires.

Ecologist Michelle Connolly told Panorama the company was destroying forests that had taken thousands of years to develop. She said,

“It’s really a shame that British taxpayers are funding this destruction with their money. Logging natural forests and converting them into pellets to be burned for electricity, that is absolutely insane.”

Click here to access the full article.

Former Wigan Industrial Wasteland Becomes New Nature Reserve

A former industrial wasteland has officially been designated as a nature reserve, now serving as a nationally important site for rare wildlife. The designation is the first in the Greater Manchester area.

The Flashes of Wigan and Leigh in Greater Manchester include habitats such as swamp, reedbed, tall herb fen, wet marshy grassland and wet woodland, supporting willow tits, bitterns, water voles and great crested newts.

It is also popular for fishing, cycling, nature walks and birdwatching.

The 738-hectare site has become one of England’s largest urban nature reserves, Natural England said.

Natural England Chief Executive, Marian Spain, said

“National Nature Reserves help reconnect people with our natural world, providing much needed opportunities to explore our incredible landscape for our health and wellbeing.”

She added the designation demonstrated how it was “possible to reverse the decline in nature”.

Click here to access the full article.

Fines and Prosecutions

Poultry Fined £300,000 Following Odour Complaints from Neighbours

Between 2019 and 2021, the Environment Agency (EA) received around 350 reports of odour from residents living near a poultry in Norfolk. People reported the smell of ‘rotting bodies and flesh’, whilst one person was physically sick.

The smell was escaping through damaged and open doors, and came from decaying chickens. Blood also accumulated on the site floor due to blocked drains.

In 2019, the EA had warned the company following the initial complaints, however, the issue continued. The agency then launched an investigation and discovered carcasses stored outside in the summer of 2020, while staff were also found to lack the “relevant training in environmental issues” to deal with the problems.

Sophie Cousins, who led the investigation into the abattoir for the EA, said

“People living and working nearby were badly affected over a long period of time.”

The poultry was fined £300,000, and ordered to pay £67,621 in costs and a victim surcharge.

Click here to read the full article.

Environment Agency Crushes Tipper Truck in Waste Crime Probe

A tipper truck was seized from a site in Buckinghamshire, as part of a wider probe into organised waste crime, and crushed by the Environment Agency.

The 18-year white van had been seen reportedly dumping waste on open land, in empty warehouses and other sites in Croydon, Merton, Mitcham and Southwark in the past year. Material left at the sites included construction waste, tyres and rubbish from house clearances.

Investigators believe the vehicle belonged to a group operating at various sites in London. Officers continue to investigate the vehicle’s owners, who failed to come forward to claim it before it was destroyed.

Matt Higginson, an Environment Manager for the Environment Agency in the South East, said:

“Seizing vehicles involved in waste crime, based upon vital intelligence from the public, is an important weapon in our armoury to disrupt waste criminals and can make a real difference to local communities blighted by illegal dumping of waste.”

Click here to read the full article.

Online Learning and Events

Alliance of Sustainable Building Products – Steel Reuse in The Construction Sector
11th  October 2022 13:00-14:00

Join the Alliance for Sustainable Building Products (ASBP) to find out more about the DISRUPT project (Delivering Innovative Steel ReUse Project) which is exploring the innovative reuse of structural steel in construction.

The project is led by ASBP with project partners – steel reuse experts Cleveland Steel and Tubes Ltd, global construction company ISG and the National Federation of Demolition Contractors. Supporters of the project include the Grosvenor Group, one of the world’s largest privately-owned international property businesses.

Although commonly recycled at end of life, the reuse of steel in buildings is currently minimal despite the apparent environmental, carbon and circular economy benefits. DISRUPT will deliver new circular business models that can act as a blueprint for other companies interested in entering the reuse sector, ultimately to achieve a greater supply of reused steel into the marketplace.

Click here to register for this webinar.

A303: Circular Economy Plan for Major Infrastructure Projects
12th  October 2022 12:30-13:00

Whilst the concept of the circular economy is not new, experience of and guidance for, its practical application continues to evolve.  There are currently few case studies for the application of circular economy approaches to the design and delivery of major infrastructure projects.

This webinar summarises experience, key activities and achievements in the implementation of circular economy approaches through the Development Phase of the A303 Amesbury to Berwick Down (Stonehenge) road scheme, a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project. 

Click here to register for this webinar.

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