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Fortnightly Bulletin – 15th May 2023

15 May 2023

Wind turbines

Legislation

Draft: Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) (Amendment) regulations 2023

The 2023 regulation is a draft item of legislation. If it is made a UK statutory instrument, the regulation will formally extend the deadlines for the registration of chemicals with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) under UK REACH by three years.

The original and extended deadlines can be found below.

Substances coveredOriginal DeadlineExtended Deadline
All substances manufactured or imported in quantities of 1,000 tonnes or more a year;Substances on the EU REACH candidate list before 1 January 2021;Carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMR) substances manufactured or imported in quantities of 1 tonne per year or more;  Substances that are very toxic to aquatic life manufactured or imported in quantities of 100 tonnes or more a year.27 October 202327 October 2026
All substances manufactured or imported in quantities of 100 tonnes or more a year; and/orAll substances added to the UK REACH candidate list before the 27 October 2026 deadline (previously 27 October 2023 deadline).27 October 202527 October 2028
All substances manufactured or imported in quantities of one tonne or more a year27 October 202727 October 2030

Source: gov.uk

Click the link for the full draft regulation.

Draft: Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (England) regulations 2023

These regulations have been laid before the House of Lords and House of Commons and will come into force on the 2nd of October 2023. The amended regulations aim to improve the control of groundwater discharge activities and expand the types of groundwater pollutants that may be controlled, introducing further types of groundwater activity exemptions and permits in England.

Modified groundwater activity exemptions, subject to conditions, for England include:

  • closed-loop ground source heating and cooling systems
  • low-environmental-risk burials at new cemeteries or new extensions of cemeteries.

Further types of groundwater activity permits include:

  • Groundwater activities to remediate the effects of pollution in groundwater or in the land or waters surrounding groundwater.
  • The injection of any substance into groundwater to increase the flow of fluids or gas to a well or borehole in connection with the extraction or use of any source of energy.

Applications for groundwater activity permits will not be granted without an assessment of hydrogeological conditions, possible purifying powers of soil and subsoil and the risk of pollution and altering the quality of groundwater from the discharge. The application must also establish whether inputting pollutants to the groundwater is a satisfactory environmental solution.

Several definitions were updated for England including ‘Groundwater Source Protection Zone 1’, ‘Pollution’ and ‘Groundwater Mobile Plant’.

Source: gov.uk

Click the link for the full draft regulation.

Guidance

Energy Security Bill: factsheets

On the 9th of May 2023, the following factsheets relating to the Energy Security Bill introduced to Parliament on 6 July 2022, have been produced:

Source: bills.parliament.uk

For more information on the Energy Security Bill, click here.

Low risk waste positions: tyres, rubber and plastic

The Environment Agency has provided low risk waste positions (LRWPs) for waste operations that it considers may be suitable for an exemption.

On the 27th April 2023, the EA withdrew the exemption ‘Storing and treating redundant athletics tracks, rubber shock pads and waste AstroTurf for reuse: LRWP 35’ and replaced it with ‘Storing and treating artificial turf: RPS 279’.

Source: gov.uk

Click here for RPS 279.

Articles of Interest

Wind is the main source of UK electricity for first time

By 2035, the UK aims for all of its electricity to have net zero emissions. Research from Imperial College London has shown that in the first three months of 2023, a third of the country’s electricity came from wind farms. This is the first time that wind turbines have generated more electricity than gas in the UK.

National Grid confirmed that April saw a record period of solar energy generation. In the first quarter of 2023, 42% of the UK’s electricity came from renewable energy, with 33% coming from fossil fuels like gas and coal.

The majority of the UK’s wind power has come from offshore wind farms. However, under current planning rules, companies can only apply to build onshore wind turbines on land specifically identified for development in the land-use plans drawn up by local councils. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak agreed in December 2022 to relax these planning restrictions to speed up development.

Iain Staffell, energy researcher at Imperial College, stated:

“There are still many hurdles to reaching a completely fossil fuel-free grid, but wind out-supplying gas for the first time is a genuine milestone event”.

However, billions of pounds’ worth of green energy projects are stuck on hold due to delays with getting connections to the grid, with some new solar and wind sites waiting up to 10 to 15 years to be connected. Also, electricity only accounts for 18% of the UK’s total power needs.

There are many demands for energy which electricity is not meeting, such as heating our homes, manufacturing and transport. As a result, the government is seeking to move households away from gas boilers and onto heat pumps which use electricity.

Source: BBC News

For the full article, click here.

Fines and Prosecutions

Construction Company Fined £480,000 For Polluting South Wales River

One of the UK’s largest construction companies has been fined £480,000 for an illegal discharge into the River Lwyd, following heavy rainfall, in October 2021.

The company had been granted a temporary discharge permit, however, this ran out in 2018. Since 2018, there had been six confirmed incidents of discharges of silty water.

Natural Resources Wales had informed the company on several occasions and issued them with a warning letter. On the 29th of October 2021, a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) inspector observed silty water spilling from an overflow basin on one of the company’s building sites into the water course.

Water samples were tested, revealing 394mg per litre of silt (seven times the permitted level) at the site of the discharge, and 184 mg per litre (more than twice the permitted level) further downstream.

Source: ITV News

For more information, click here.

Online Learning and Events

Webinar: pledge to net zero: case studies

This webinar will present examples of good practice from participants in the Pledge to Net Zero (PTNZ) initiative. 

Launched in 2019 to convene fast, science-based action in the UK’s environmental sector, more than 160 organisations are signed up to PTNZ. In addition to expanding beyond the UK with the creation of an Irish hub, PTNZ has also partnered with the UN’s leading Race to Zero campaign. 

PTNZ requires signatories to set a science-based target in line with a 1.5°C climate change scenario, publicly report on their progress towards achieving their target, and publish a piece of thought-leadership/ provide mentoring services. 

Suitable to all organisations looking to gain net zero advice and inspiration, join this webinar to hear presentations from a selection of leading PTNZ participants, sharing insights into how they have reduced their emissions, overcoming challenges along the way.

For further information click here.

Webinar: scope 3 and resource efficiency; practical examples from the building sector  
13th June 2023 13.30-14:30pm

Building operations, refurbishments and the changing use of space to accommodate more flexible ways of working and wellbeing criteria has the potential to generate more waste and disposal of items no longer required.

This is contributing not only to the use of resources, but also to the carbon emissions associated with the lifecycle of these items. The development of a Scope 3 Standard by and for the Facilities Management (FM) sector seeks to provide consistency and to promote circular economy principles into the role of FM and building management.

During this session, a panel of experts and practitioners will discuss the role of circular economy in FM and provide examples of practical engagement to help reduce scope 3 emissions.

This will be an ideal opportunity for anyone managing estates or working on resource efficiency for physical estates to learn from the development of this project, with time scheduled for a Q&A session with the speakers.

For further information click here.

Recent Insights

What are Intelligent Wastewater Networks? How do they contribute to the REWAISE project?

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In this article Prof Pete Skipworth and Dr Sonja Ostojin examine Intelligent Wastewater Networks and the role of technology such as EMS’s CENTAUR.

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The Environment Agency and waste management trade body, the Environmental Services Association (ESA) have launched their Waste Industry Placement Scheme to support the sharing of knowledge between the regulator and industry.  

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