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Fortnightly Bulletin – 12th September 2022

12 September 2022

Woodland trees

Dates for the Diary

Energy Security Bill 2022

The Energy Security Bill was introduced into Parliament on the 6th July 2022. The Bill aims to deliver a more affordable and secure energy system for the long term, following a rise in the global demand for energy and the price of gas reaching historically high levels.

The Bill intends to achieve this through the introduction of 26 measures across the following 3 overarching actions:

leveraging private investment in clean technologies and building a homegrown energy system

reforming our energy system to protect consumers from unfair pricing

ensuring the safety, security and resilience of the UK’s energy system

This legislation is still pending and will apply to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Factsheets on the Energy Security Bill have been published, which set out what DEFRA is legislating and how it will be achieved through the Bill.

These factsheets can be accessed through this link.

Beavers (England) Order 2022

This order will amend the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017 and the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, and is due to be enforced from the 1st October 2022. The new legislation will apply in England only.

The order adds the Eurasian beaver to the list of European Protected Species in England under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

Amendments to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 move the species to the list of native animals under Part 1A to Schedule 9, while also removing it from Part 1B, the list of animals normally no longer present. This continues the prohibition of releasing Eurasian beavers to the wild without a licence, without contradicting the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

To read about this updated legislation in full, click here.

Guidance

Land Contamination Risk Management (LCRM)

The Environment Agency expects you to follow this guidance if managing any risks from land contamination.

Land contamination has the potential to harm:

  • Human health,
  • Drinking water, ground, and surface water,
  • Soils,
  • Ecosystems including wildlife, animals and wetlands,
  • Property

It can also affect current and future land use. This guidance (LCRM) can be used in a range of regulatory and management contexts. For example, voluntary remediation, planning, assessing liabilities, or under the Part 2A contaminated land regime.

The LCRM is made up of four guides:

  1. LCRM: Before you start,
  2. LCRM: Risk assessment,
  3. LCRM: Options appraisal,
  4. LCRM: Remediation and verification

For more information and instructions on using the LCRM, click here.

Woodland Carbon Guarantee

The Woodland Carbon Guarantee (WCaG) is a £50 million scheme that aims to help accelerate woodland planting rates and develop the domestic market for woodland carbon for the permanent removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It forms an objective of the governments ’25 Year Environment Plan’ and was announced in the autumn 2018 budget.

The next Woodland Carbon Guarantee auction will take place from midday on Monday 21 November to midday on Sunday 27 November 2022. The application deadline to take part in the auction is 23:59pm on Sunday 6 November 2022.

The Woodland Carbon Guarantee provides applicants with the option to sell captured carbon in the form of verified credits, called Woodland Carbon Units (WCU’s), to the government, for a guaranteed price every 5 or 10 years up to 2055/56. This can provide an additional form of long-term income generated from your woodland. WCU’s can also be sold on the open market as well as to the government should you wish to do so.

The Woodland Carbon Guarantee provides long term certainty for participants. It provides landowners with a guaranteed price for the carbon credits, set at the level required to make the investment worthwhile.

The guaranteed price, coupled with the index-linking can significantly reduce the financial risk associated with the long-term investment.

For further information regarding the scheme, click here.

Articles of Interest

Businesses Warned of Droughts Becoming a ‘New Normal’

The UK’s National Drought Group (NDG), which includes decision-makers from the Environment Agency, government, and water companies, said that prolonged dry weather has led to ‘exceptionally low’ river flows and groundwater levels, with a decline in reservoir levels – some at a level ‘well below average’ for the time of year.

At the time of late August 2022, 10 of the Environment Agency’s 14 areas were in drought.

The group warned that recent rainfall in some parts of the country is not enough to replenish rivers, groundwater or reservoirs to normal levels, saying that this will require a return to sustained average or above average rainfall over the coming months.

In response, it has agreed to intensify work to meet or beat existing water security targets, as well as committing to various other measures, such carrying out compliance checks to ensure water abstractors are complying with licence restrictions, and doing more to fix leaks.

The NDG said that sufficient rainfall over the autumn and winter would replenish rivers, lakes, groundwaters and reservoirs to normal levels by the spring, but that planning should begin now on how best to manage any shortfalls that might arise in 2023.

Water minister, Steve Double stated that “Water companies need to be putting the needs of their bill payers front and centre of their plans – which means redoubling efforts to cut leakage and protect our natural environment”

For access to the full article, click here.

UK Water Pollution should be viewed as Financial Risk, Investors Warn

The Valuing Water Finance Initiative describes fresh water as the ‘world’s most precious natural resource,’ providing investors with the necessary tools to ‘make the case’ for prioritizing water risk when engaging with investee companies.

This includes a set of six science-based, actionable Corporate Expectations for Valuing Water, which are aligned with the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goal for Water (SDG6).

Signatories include pension funds and other financial institutions, such as Aviva Investors and Fidelity International.

The six expectations for investors to deploy in their engagement with investee companies include:

  1. Water quantity: companies do not negatively impact water availability in water-scarce areas across their value chain
  2. Water quality: companies do not negatively impact water quality across their value chain
  3. Ecosystem protection: companies do not contribute to the conversion of natural ecosystems critical to freshwater supplies and aquatic biodiversity and actively work to restore degraded habitats that their businesses depend upon
  4. Access to water and sanitation: companies contribute to the social, economic and ecological resilience of communities they interact with by contributing to achieving universal and equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene across their value chain
  5. Board oversight: corporate boards and senior management oversee water management efforts
  6. Public policy engagement: companies ensure that all public policy engagement and lobbying activities are aligned with sustainable water resource management outcomes

The initiative and expectations were guided by an advisory council of major investors, including members of the Valuing Water Finance Task Force and other investor and NGO partners.

For access to the full article, click here.

Online Learning and Events

The Associated Risks to Businesses from Greenwashing

This webinar informs about the concept of Greenwashing and its associated risks to businesses. The ESG team at law firm Weightmans will review several reported greenwashing cases alongside the Competition and Markets Authority – Green Claims Code on goods and services. The Weightmans team will share their own experiences of advising clients on greenwashing claims, the options if you want to make or defend a greenwashing claim, and what best practice looks like when advising marketing teams on the do’s and don’ts of green marketing claims.

This event will take place from 12:30pm on the 21st September.

Click here to sign up for this event.

The Net-Zero Festival 2022

The Net Zero Festival will deliver an inspiring in-person celebration of the best of the green economy, accompanied by a series of virtual events that will explore how to develop and execute an effective net zero strategy.

Through thought-provoking keynotes, cutting-edge debates, and the incorporation of leading artists and campaigners, we will shine a light on the progress that is being made and ask how businesses can move faster still.

The festival will take place across the 28th and 29th of September.

Click here to sign up for this event.

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