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Fortnightly Bulletin – 19th December 2022

21 December 2022

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Legal Updates

Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) (England) Regulations 2022

These regulations require producers of packaging to collect and report data on the amount and type of packaging that they place on the market, from the 1st of January 2023. This data is required to calculate the fees that these producers will be required to pay under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regime for packaging in 2024.

These regulations will come into force on the 28th of February 2023 and will apply to small and large organisations in England. Charities are exempt.

Large organisations are those that supplied or handled 50 tonnes or more of empty packaging and/or packaged goods in the UK in the preceding calendar year; and had a turnover of £2million or greater in the prior financial year. These organisations are already obligated under the Producer Responsibility Obligations (Packaging Waste) Regulations 2007.

Small organisations are those that supplied or handled between 25 and 50 tonnes of empty packaging or packaged goods in the UK in the preceding calendar year; and had a turnover between £1million and £2million in the prior financial year.

Large organisations are required to collect the data and report it to the Environment Agency every six months. Small organisations are required to collect packaging data for each calendar year, however, are not initially required to report it. 

To read more on this draft legislation, requirements and exemptions, click here.

Guidance

Collecting, Storing and Upgrading Biogas from On-Farm Manure And Slurry: RPS 259

This new regulatory position statement (RPS) is about the collection, storage and upgrading of biogas from on-farm manure and slurry lagoons without an environmental permit.

It does not change the legal requirement to have an environmental permit when:

•  collecting and storing biogas from on-farm manure and slurry lagoons and tanks,

•  upgrading this biogas to biomethane.

However, the Environment Agency will not normally take enforcement action when this is done without an environmental permit if the requirements in this RPS are complied with.

To read more on this guidance, click here.

 Workplace Charging Scheme: guidance for applicants

In 2021, guidance was produced for applications of the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS), to find out what the WCS is, the eligibility criteria for applicant organisations and how to apply. 

This guidance has been updated to clarify who can claim for chargepoints.

To read more on this updated guidance, click here.

 MCERTS: Performance Standards For Low Risk Plant Monitors

The monitoring certification scheme (MCERTS) is designed to support the measurement requirements specified in environmental permits by ensuring that instruments used to derive monitoring data are fit for purpose.

Guidance has been published on MCERTS, describing the certification process for low risk plant monitors. These systems are used to make continuous measurements in a variety of applications, such as:

  • stack emissions monitoring for indicative purposes,
  • monitoring some plants that fall under the Medium Combustion Plant Directive,
  • monitoring some plants that fall under the specified generator regulations.

To read more on this guidance, click here.

Articles of Interest

Livestock farming polluted rivers 300 times in one year

According to the latest government figures, livestock farms in England polluted rivers 300 times last year, causing 20 major incidents. However, only six farms were prosecuted in 2021, with the Environment Agency giving out warning letters instead.

One of the main environmental threats to rivers from farming comes from cow waste called slurry, which is a mix of manure and water that farmers store and spread as fertiliser.

Due to the waste produced by the millions of cows, the dairy industry is the worst environmental offender, linked to half of all farm pollution. Each of the UK’s 2.6m dairy cows produces up to 53 litres of manure a day. That’s approximately 50 billion litres of manure a year – enough to fill Wembley stadium more than 12 times.

The slurry that is produced needs to be stored but it can leak from badly-maintained containers or if too much is applied to the land or if it rains heavily, it can run off from fields.

Farms are inspected by the Environment Agency to ensure best practice. In 2021, 721 inspections were carried out on 693 farms.  Over half of inspections found farmers were breaking the regulations surrounding slurry storage.

Defra said it has doubled the funding for its Catchment Sensitive Farming programme, which provides free advice to farmers to help them better manage manure and soils. Earlier this month, it made available a £13m slurry infrastructure grant for farmers to improve their storage.

The NFU welcomed the funding, saying that farmers had already made a 75% reduction in serious pollution incidents year-on-year compared to 2000.

NFU deputy president, Tom Bradshaw, said:

“The NFU will continue to work with Defra and the Environment Agency through their advice-led approach to infringements, in order to effectively communicate the farming rules for water guidance to its members.”

Source: BBC News

To read the full article, click here.

Biodiversity: Row Over Funding Threatens to Stall Talks

Countries have pledged new funds to restore nature as biodiversity talks reach a crunch point over finance. Leaders are meeting in Montreal to try to agree a roadmap for reversing nature loss.

It’s hoped the new commitments will provide momentum for an agreement on protecting a third of the planet for nature. However, environmental groups have warned that political will must be turned into concrete agreement if the talks are to succeed.

The UK government has promised nearly £30m to help developing countries to reach the goal of setting aside a third of the planet for nature. It is also giving £5m to support biodiversity projects in the British overseas territories. The conservation projects range from supporting endangered sea turtles on the Cayman Islands to reintroducing threatened birds to the Falkland Islands.

Environment Secretary Thérèse Coffey said:

“A healthy and thriving natural environment underpins the social and economic prosperity of our livelihoods, which is why it is pivotal for the international community to put nature on the road to recovery.”

On Thursday, a number of countries, including Spain, the Netherlands, France and Canada, put forward plans to increase the amount of funding for conservation efforts across the world, particularly in the most vulnerable countries. It is hoped that philanthropic organisations and international banks will follow suit.

The announcements followed concerns that the pace of negotiations in Montreal has stalled amid disagreements over finance. On Wednesday some countries walked out of a meeting in protest at the lack of progress on how to fill a multi-billion dollar funding gap.

A spokesperson from The Nature Conservancy said:

“This week has been challenging as expected around issues of resource mobilisation, with walk-outs and late-night impasses…That said, the train feels like it’s back on track and conversations are again moving. “

Source: BBC News

To read the full article, click here.

Fines and Prosecutions

Joining Forces to Stop Illegal Waste Carriers

The Environment Agency and Kent Rural Police carried out a road stop to check that vehicles carrying waste or vehicles that routinely carry waste as part of their business, had the correct paperwork and that the vehicles were in order.

They stopped eight vehicles carrying waste and issued nine fixed penalty notices, totaling £2,300. Offences included insecure load, driving without insurance, driving without a license, driving without a seat belt and defective tyres. They also performed two searches under the control of pollution act.

The Environment Agency is considering appropriate enforcement action for the businesses or individuals that weren’t compliant with the regulations.

Environment Manager for the Environment Agency, Lyndsay Faulkner, said:

“This should serve as a warning to those who would flout the law that we and our partners will continue to search out waste crime and we won’t hesitate to take action when operators are acting illegally….

To avoid giving your waste to an illegal waste carrier and it ending up at an illegal waste site, we encourage the public and businesses to ask for their waste collector’s waste carrier’s registration number and ask to see their waste transfer note – they must be able to produce both. We also encourage people not to pay in cash for waste collections.”

Click here to read more about these fines.

Online Learning and Events

IEMA Webinar: Peatland – Policy to Practice
11th of January 2023/ 17:30-19:00

This is person event at Jacobs offices in Glasgow, will look at the policy viewpoint of the what and why and an example of practical peatland protection. Featured guest speakers include Ailis Watt, Policy Officer at The Wildlife Trusts and Megan Lindeman, Senior Consultant – Environmental Management at Mabbett & Associates Ltd.

Register for this event here.  

Energy Efficiency Conference
19th of January 2023

This event will host those facing some of the greatest changes and challenges in the world of energy; and those on the ground, making the transition to a more sustainable, secure, affordable energy future.

Utilising real-world examples of effective energy management, you’ll gain tangible guidance in the areas of technology, data & digital, process & behaviour, and strategy.

Register for this event here.

Waste and Materials Management Online Conference
24th of January 2023/ 13:00-17:30

Environment Analyst’s annual Waste & Materials Management conference is returning online on 24 January at 13:00-17:30 GMT and will explore the best way forward for achieving circular economy and sustainability goals in the management, and re-use, of brownfield and construction waste.

This event is CPD accredited.

Register for this event here.

CIWEM Flood Risk Webinar
1st of February 2023/ 16:00-17:00

This webinar will explore Fathom’s Climate Change framework – CIWEM’s latest methodology for translating climate model outputs into relevant metrics for flood modelling. It is for engineers and water professionals who want to better understand how large-scale models factor in future flood risk.

Register for this event here.

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