Fortnightly Bulletin – 29th January 2024
29 January 2024
Climate Change Agreements (Administration and Eligible Facilities) (Amendment) Regulations 2023
Climate Change Agreements (CCAs) are available to certain energy intensive sectors. Holders of CCAs receive a significant reduction on the rates of climate change levy in return for mandatory emissions or energy use targets.
This legislation will apply across the UK.
These regulations have extended the climate change agreement scheme to 31 March 2027 and have added target period 6 which will run between 1 January 2024 and 31 December 2024.
Any previous surplus achieved by overperforming in target periods 1 through 4 will not be taken into account when determining the fee for target period 5 or target period 6.
A new power will enable the scheme administrators to request information by 1 May following the completion of the previous target period.
CCA holders that do not meet the targets set are required to pay ‘buy-out’ fees per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent over the target. The buy-out fee will increase to £25 for target period 6.
The amending regulations will also increase financial penalties that may be applied against CCA holders breaching their obligations. The administrator may also decide to apply a lover rate of fee.
Operating a schedule 25B, trance B specified generator for research and development: RPS 220
The Environment Agency enforcement position on when you can operate a specified generator with one or more trance B generators for research and development testing.
The Environment Agency intends to withdraw this RPS on 31 December 2025 and advises to check back to see if it still applies or if you need to apply for an environmental permit or take appropriate alternative action.
This Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) does not change your legal requirement to get an environmental permit when you operate a specified generator with one or more tranche B generators, for research and development testing.
However, the Environment Agency will not normally take enforcement action when you do this without getting an environmental permit if you comply with the requirements in this RPS. This enforcement position does not apply to any other legal requirements.
Summary of European Commission guidance on the EU CBAM for UK exporters
The European Union’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is a tool to put a fair price on the carbon emitted during the produce of carbon intensive goods that are entering the EU, and to encourage cleaner industrial production in non-EU countries. The gradual introduction of the CBAM is aligned with the phase-out of the allocation of free allowances under the EU Emissions Trading Systems (ETS) to support the decarbonisation of EU Industry.
On 1 October 2023, EU’s CBAM entered into application on its transitional phase. During the transitional phase, importers of CBAM goods in the EU are required to report a set of data, including emissions embedded in their good. The first quarterly report is for the period of October to December 2023, with the report due to be submitted on the CBAM Transitional Registry by 31 January 2024.
The European Commission have outlined that the EU CBAM will initially apply to imports of certain goods and selected precursors whose production is carbon intensive and at most significant risk of carbon leakage. The following sectors have been identified by the Commission as initially within scope during the transitional phase of the EU CBAM:
- Iron and steel,
If you are a UK business exporting products or precursors to the EU in these sectors, you should review guidance provided by the EU to understand whether businesses you export to are in scope of the EU CBAM.
The summary document is intended to help UK exporters of good in scope of the EU CBAM to identify relevant guidance and information during the transitional phase. This includes:
- information on what UK businesses need to know,
- links to relevant European Commission guidance and webinars for specific sectors,
- legislative documents,
- wider information.
The summary document does not constitute legal advice and is provided for general information purposes only. Exporters that require specific legal advice should contact a specialist legal adviser. Guidance produced by the European Commission is available on the European Commission Website.
Single-use plastics ban and restrictions
Certain single use plastic items must not be suppled in England, except for some exemptions.
Online and over the counter sales and supply of the following single used plastic items are banned:
- Polystyrene food and drink containers,
- Drinks stirrers,
- Balloon sticks,
Online and over the counter sales and supply of the following single use plastic items have restrictions:
- Plates, bowls, and trays,
- Cotton buds.
This includes all types of single-use plastic, including biodegradable, composable and recycled plastic, and items wholly or partly made from plastic, including coating or lining.
Businesses can supply single use plastic plates, bowls and trays if they either they supply them to another business, or the items are packaging, pre-filled or filled at the point of sale.
Examples of this type of packaging include:
- a pre-filled salad bowl or ready meal packaged in a tray,
- a plate filled at the counter of a takeaway,
- a tray used to deliver food.
There are exemptions to the ban of straws for some businesses. Registered pharmacies can supply single-use plastic straws, but must not display straws to customers or advertise single-use plastic straws to customers in store (pharmacies can advertise them online).
This guidance applies to England.
How you will be regulated: environmental permits
The Environment Agency will check you are complying with your permit, and you continue to be a competent operator. Your permit can be revoked if they decide you are not a suitable operator.
If you apply to transfer a waste, mining waste or installations permit to another person, the Environment Agency could reject the application if they decided the person is not a competent operator.
Your operation may be checked by the Environment Agency by:
- a desk-based assessment to check of whether you are complying with your permit, for example by checking you are submitting the required information,
- an inspection of your site where an officer visits your site,
- sampling of your permitted water discharge activity or groundwater activity.
Inspections are usually unannounced, but some might be pre-arranged. Environment Agency staff will look around your site and ask questions about what you are doing. They may ask to see documents or talk to your staff.
Pollution inventory reporting: general and sector guidance
The Environment Agency has updated the guidance for the food and drink sector. The pollution inventory is used to report releases and transfers from industrial activities that the Environment Agency regulates.
You must report to the pollution inventory if you:
- operate under a part A (1) environmental permit and have received a notice under Regulation 61(1) of the Environmental Permitting Regulations (EPR) 2016 or Regulation 60 of the EPR 2010,
- operate a sewage treatment works with a capacity at, or over, 100,000 population equivalents,
- run an opencast mine or quarry with a surface area over 25hectares, or an underground mine and related operation (no capacity threshold),
- dispose of radioactive waste to air, water or sewers covered by a permit issued under EPR 2016 or EPR 2010.
The pollution inventory reporting collection page gives information about the Pollution Inventory Electronic Data Capture (PIEDC) system and other forms you can use to submit your data.
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.
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
Teesside University announces battery processing plant
Teesside University, in collaboration with Altilium (a clean technology firm) is designing a commercial-scale battery processing and black mass production plant in Teesside.
The plant will be capable of processing over 100,000 Electric Vehicle (EV) batteries per year, once complete, and will support the development of the UK’s first circular economy for EV batteries.
Tees Valley Launchpad, a collaborative research and development fund established by Innovate UK, has supported the project with a grant of almost £560,000.
‘Black mass’ is the material described when a battery reaches the end of its life and contains high amounts of key metals, lithium, cobalt, nickel and manganese. The university says Altilium can recover over 95% of these battery metals to produce battery-ready cathode active material (CAM), using it proprietary recycling technology.
Prosecutions and Fines
Essex man billed for burning waste on ‘industrial scale’
The owner of two sites in Essex who was jailed for illegally importing and burning waste has been ordered to pay £85,000 in Environment Agency costs together with a victim surcharge of £156.00. The man appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on 8 January 2024 for consideration of claims for prosecution costs.
In June 2020, Environment Agency officers visited land in Essex after firefighters raised concerns following several fires at the site. Officers found large quantities of waste at the site including waste electricals, household waste and demolition waste.
In September 2020, officers attended another site in Latchingdon owned by the same person and found piles of burning waste with flames up to two metres high. Officers also identified large piles of soils heavily contaminated with bricks, concrete, and plastic. Essex Fire and Rescue attended the site and discovered a gas cylinder amongst the embers.
The owner had previously pleaded guilty to operating two waste management facilities without a permit and pleaded guilty to disposing controlled waste in a manner likely to cause pollution or harm to human health at both sites. The owner of both sites was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment at Chelmsford Crown Court on 2 August 2022 and issued with a court order to remove the waste at both sites upon release.
After leaving prison, removal of the waste and restoration of the land at both sites commenced. Progress was monitored by the Environment Agency during regular site visits, deploying an Unmanned Aeriel Vehicle (UAV) or drone.
Kent criminal given 18-month custodial sentence
A man from Faversham was finally caught and arrested after absconding when he was found guilty of running an illegal waste operation in 2019. The man appeared at Maidstone crown court for sentencing and was given an 18-month custodial sentencing.
In 2019, the Environment Agency prosecuted the man, along with two family members, for allowing waste to be deposited and treated at their site in Kent for a number of years with no permit from the Environment Agency. The man then absconded before sentencing whilst on bail. The man was arrested following a warrant issued by Maidstone crown court for failing to answer his bail and will now serve a 14-month prison sentence for allowing waste to be deposited and treated at their site between 2014 and 2016 without an environmental permit.
Farm ordered to pay after polluting stream with slurry
Slurry from a farm near Tiverton ran into a stream causing pollution for at least two months.
An investigation by the Environment Agency found that a ditch leading to a tributary of the Spratford stream was polluted. The pollution was traced back to a pipe discharging into the ditch and also dirty water flowing across a nearby field. Officers met with the owner of the farm who confirmed that water from the yards between the cattle sheds drained to the pipe seen by the officers. Water contaminated with slurry was running into surface water drains connected with the pipe discharging to the stream.
The company appeared before Exeter Magistrates and admitted to two charges relating to polluting a watercourse and disposal of controlled waste in a manner likely to cause environmental pollution or harm to human health. The company was fined a total of £4,300 and ordered to pay costs totalling £1,765, plus a victim surcharge of £190.
Insights into waste electricals
7th February 2024 12:30 – 13:30
This event focuses on the Government’s recent announced consultation on the UK Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations (WEEE regulations). This event is a key opportunity to learn about the latest research that is shaping the revised regulations on waste electricals, one of the fastest growing waste streams in the UK and globally.
To take part, click on the link below to register.
Digital waste tracking for the built environment – virtual conference
20th February 2024
The government has outlined plans to introduce a UK-wide mandatory digital waste tracking system from 2025. This will make it easy to track waste and resource, using a waste tracking service that is simple to use and provide value for all users.
The built environment is one of the largest producers of waste, using half of the materials extracted, and is responsible for one-third of the global waste. It accounts for approximately 39% of global energy related carbon dioxide emissions.
This conference will look at some of the innovative ways waste is being managed and some of the digital tools in use.
Source: Society for the Environment (SocEnv)