Fortnightly Bulletin – 12th February 2024
12 February 2024
Disposable vapes banned
The ban on the sale of disposable vapes was confirmed by the government following a national consultation late last year.
Estimates state that 1.3 million of these hard-to-recycle devices are littered across the United Kingdom (UK) each week – the equivalent of two every second. The UK Government believes that a further four million are placed in bins each week.
Veolia’s Senior Executive Vice President for Northern Europe, Gavin Graveson, said: “When faced with an environmental crisis, every product that enters the market should be designed for recyclability. Disposable vapes are a clear example of when products have been designed with no thought for their environmental impact and should be subject to an extended producer responsibility scheme that incentivises the right eco-design.”
Environment Secretary Steve Barclay said: “Not only are disposable vapes often targeted, unacceptably, at children – they also represent a huge and growing stream of hard-to-recycle waste, with nearly five million thrown away every week”, and, “this historic announcement will be a powerful tool in support of our efforts to crack down on waste and boost recycling, as well as helping to create the first smoke-free generation”.
The eight-week public consultation on smoking and vaping closed on 6 December 2023. Over 25,000 responses were analysed, and the government response sets out plans for upcoming legislation which will be introduced in Parliament shortly.
Source: Gov.uk and edie
Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (Amendment) Regulations 2023
The ‘Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) (Amendment) Regulations 2023’ amended the ‘Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme Regulations 2014’ on 29 November 2023.
The amendments significantly revise ESOS reporting and notification duties for the current phase (phase three) and the subsequent phases.
This legislation applies across the UK.
The assessment, reporting, and notification requirements under ESOS have been revised for phase three and the subsequent phases.
The phase three notification deadline has been put back to 5 June 2024. This will return to a four yearly deadline on 5 December from ESOS phase four onwards.
Storing waste incapacitant sprays: RPS138
This Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) applies to the storage of waste incapacitant sprays, coded 16 05 04* or 16 05 08*, before disposal or recovery elsewhere other than at the place where the waste is produced.
- store less than 2m³ of waste incapacitant sprays at any one time,
- store waste incapacitant sprays for less than 12 months,
- have a permit from the Home Office under the ‘Firearms Act 1968’,
- follow the guidance in the ‘Firearms Security Handbook’,
- keep records for two years to show that you have complied with this RPS and make these records available to the EA on request,
- enter RPS138 followed by the postcode of the receiving site in the permit field for hazardous waste consignee returns.
It is important to note that waste incapacitant sprays are hazardous waste due to their chemical makeup. You must consign the waste when you move it, to comply with the ‘Hazardous Waste Regulations’.
The EA intends to review this RPS by 28 August 2026.
Register, renew or change waste exemptions
A waste exemption is a waste operation that is exempt from needing an environmental permit. Each exemption has limits and conditions that must be met. When an exemption is registered, details about the company and the exemption will be added to the EA’s public register of exempt waste sites.
If an operator cannot meet the limits and conditions of an exemption, an environmental permit may need to be applied for. The EA has updated the guidance page on the gov.uk website to ensure clarity on when an exempt activity is illegal.
Biological waste treatment: appropriate measures for permitted facilities
This guidance explains the standards (appropriate measures) that are relevant to permitted waste management facilities that handle organic waste, also known as biowaste. Facilities that operate under a relevant waste exemption can also use this guidance. This guidance applies to aerobic and anaerobic processes.
The EA has made the following changes to the guidance:
- Section 11.9 (Emissions Control) has been updated to US EPA protocol for equipment leak emission estimates.
- Added EN17628 on multiple monitoring techniques.
- Listed the survey information to provide in a Leak Detection And Repair [HR1] (LDAR) plan.
- Added the standards to follow when producing a LDAR plan.
Annual Legal Compliance Support Packages
Are you meeting your environmental compliance?
If you are not meeting the requirements of laws, regulations, and standards implemented to protect the environment, you are at risk of receiving a penalty. Fines are now unlimited and based on your business turnover (e.g. for a medium-size business with turnover or equivalent of between £6.5 million and £25.9 million, the starting factor for a fine is £250,000) and/or imprisonment.
Environmental Monitoring Solution’s (EMS’s) Environmental Legal Compliance Support Service provides you with a summary of all regulatory requirements and guidance documents, remarks on the requirements placed on your business, the associated regulator, and a summary of control measures that are in place to ensure compliance.
Articles of Interest
Amazon agrees clean power deal with Scottish windfarm
Amazon has announced that it has signed a Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (CPPA) with ENGIE, regarding Ocean Winds’ Moray West offshore wind farm in Scotland. The windfarm, once fully operational, will have a capacity of 882megawatt (MW) and the CPPA covers 473MW.
Amazon states that the CPPA is equivalent to powering more than 650,000 UK homes annually.
“Transitioning to carbon-free energy sources is one of the most impactful ways to lower carbon emissions and is part of our Climate Pledge commitment to reach net zero carbon across our operations by 2040,” Amazon Web Services’ Director of Energy, Lindsay McQuade said.
Amazon is aiming to source 100% renewable electricity to power its global operations by 2025.
Plastic barrier that collects litter to be installed at River Soar
A barrier that will collect litter from the River Soar in Leicestershire is due to be installed in March 2024.
Environmental project, UOcean, has been given permission for the barrier to be put in place at Watermead Country Park in Leicester. The £25,000 plastic floating barrier will run from one riverbank to the other and descend about 30cm into the water, allowing fish to pass under the barrier. The county council and the Canal and River Trust have given the installation the go-ahead.
UOcean have removed over 10,000kilograms (kg) of litter by hand over the course of three years. Recent flooding highlighted the extent of the issue because litter was left hanging on the trees.
The best green innovations of January 2024
The top six newsworthy green innovations from January 2024 include the following:
- A next-generation solar panel that has set a new standard for solar conversion efficiency.
- A technology company that is focused on rejuvenating old solar panels and mitigating degradation from wear and tear.
- A project bringing solar power to underutilised commercial spaces through panels that can withstand being walked, driven, and cycled on.
- A ‘double-sided’ solar technology that is being used to create battery-free connected devices.
- A repairable modular kitchen blender.
- An oxygen sensor that can be printed onto food packaging to help prevent food waste.[HR1]
Prosecutions and Fines
Bermondsey man made to do 250 hours of community service
A man has been sentenced to a community order of 250 hours unpaid work over an 18-month period and ordered to pay £2,000 in compensation to Network Rail by Bromley magistrates’ court.
On 29 October 2020, Network Rail reported that a large amount of waste was illegally deposited at Sittingbourne Station. Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) from Southeastern Trains showed that the waste was deposited on 22 October 2020 by a Volvo lorry.
In November 2020, Network Rail contacted the EA with CCTV footage of their land at Milton Court Road in London of the same Volvo lorry entering the site with a full load of waste and shortly exiting without any waste. Network Rail confirmed that the vehicle did not have permission to enter the site.
On 17 December 2020, EA officers visited the suspected company’s site in Swanscombe. During this visit, the officers found that the site was being used as an illegal waste transfer station. No permits or exemptions were in force that would allow the waste activities on site.
Businessman ordered to pay nearly £11,000 for waste offences
In a case brought by the EA, a man from Bridgwater, Somerset was fined £4,622 and ordered to pay costs of £6,351, after he admitted one charge of breaching an environmental permit and one of breaching an enforcement notice.
The charges were brought against the company, but the court found that the offences were with the consent or connivance of the man.
Taunton magistrates court was told that the company was a permitted waste transfer station. Between January 2015 and August 2022 54, of the company’s 61, Compliance Assessment Reports from EA site inspections showed breaches to conditions, by taking in more waste than its permit allowed. Resulting in a build-up of incorrectly stored and unprocessed waste.
An inspection showed the enforcement notice had not been complied with and the officer found an open skip containing objects wrapped in plastic and marked “biohazard”. When asked the man said he did not know what the waste was.
The EA officer recorded a number of permit breaches, including not having a technically competent manager on site and failure to inspect biohazard waste to confirm the description.
During an interview the man admitted breaching permit requirements and failing to comply with the enforcement notice, which he said, was due to cash flow problems.
Supply chain sustainability: improving resiliency in 2024
15th February 2024 14:00 – 15:00
A one-hour case study webinar to help organisations of all sizes and sectors to improve management approaches across the supply chain, embedding sustainable practices, and building resilience.
Attendance is free.
5th – 7th March 2024 – ExCel, London
Futurebuild, the built environment’s most influential event for innovation and collaboration, is back for its 18th year. The event will continue its mission in taking a stand for a better built environment, showcasing groundbreaking ideas, creative and inspirational innovations, and crucial collaboration to help set the stage for a greener, more resilient future.