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Fortnightly Bulletin – 29th November 2021

29 November 2021

Fortnightly Bulletin

Dates for the Diary 

31st March 2022 

The following COVID-19 Regulatory Position Statements (RPS) have been extended until the 31st March 2022: 

Social Distancing when Signing and Handing Over Waste Transfer and Consignment Notes in Person: RPS C8 

6th April 2022 

The Companies (Strategic Report) (Climate-related Financial Disclosure) Regulations 2021 will require climate-related financial disclosures by various types of larger companies with more than 500 employees. 

Disclosures will be required to be submitted for the first financial year beginning on or after 6th April 2022. These disclosures should follow the recommendations of the Task-Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework. 

The Companies (Strategic Report) (Climate-related Financial Disclosure) Regulations 2021 

The Environment Act 2021 

The Environment Act 2021 has finally been passed for royal assent into UK Law. This Act establishes the Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) as a new regulatory body for legislative enforcement regarding environmental issues. 

The main aims of this Act are to: 

  • Create a framework for legally binding targets 
  • Move towards a circular resources and waste economy 
  • Improve air quality 
  • Secure our water services 
  • Enhance our green spaces through creation of a biodiversity net gain requirement 
  • Update laws on chemicals (REACH) 

New additions include: 

  • A requirement for ministers to make a statement to Parliament setting out the effect of new primary legislation on existing levels of environmental protection 
  • A requirement for the Secretary of State to conduct a two-yearly review of the significant developments in international legislation on the environment and to publish a report on the findings 
  • Requirement making it illegal for ‘larger’ businesses to use products in their activities unless they comply with local laws to protect natural areas. 

Further additions are currently being drawn up and proposed to be included in the Act, some of these include: 

  • Launched consultations on the deposit return schemes for drinks containers 
  • Extended producer responsibility for packaging 
  • Consistent recycling collections 

Read more about the new Office of Environmental Protection

Read more about this new Act of Parliament

Guidance  

Correspondents Guidelines No. 12 – Final Version 

The Basel Convention changed the classification of waste plastic on 1 Jan 2021. One of the issues that arose from this was the interpretation of the permissible contamination levels and the European Commission has now published Correspondents Guidelines No. 12 which provides EU guidance on this. 

These guidelines are not binding for Member States, however most will use them and we can therefore expect most EU destination sites for UK plastic waste to refer to them.  

However, the Environment Agency has made it clear that for both exports and imports to England, the quality requirements are not affected by the 2% specified in CG 12.  

To read more on these updated guidelines, click here. 

Plastic Packaging Tax (PPT) – Update from HMRC 

This update provides new information, for example what to include on a tax return for PPT, and what other substances need to be considered for multi material packaging. The update also brings previously published guidance into the full guidance format, so all information businesses need to prepare for the tax will be together in one place. 

Source 360 environmental,  4th of November 2021. 

Articles of Interest 

In Permanent Rotation – Recycling Wind Turbines 

The UK may be on the cusp of a major breakthrough. Currently utilised wind turbines have an average lifespan of only 25 years – many first-generation turbines are now reaching this age-limit. Although up to 90% of a turbine is recyclable, their blades remain an obstacle, due to their composition of resins and fibres. 

The Energy Transition Alliance (ETA), a partnership between ORE Catapult and the Net Zero Technology Centre, with input from the National Composites Centre and the University of Leeds, has investigated alternatives to landfill and incineration. It believes up to 14 mechanical, thermal, chemical, and reprocessing technologies could show promise for recyclability. However, further research into the cost efficiency and environmental impact of these is needed. 

Earlier efforts to recycle blades have been obstructed by a failure to match the recovered materials to the needs of the supply chain and end-products. The recyclability of these blades could present a significant step in the UK’s transition to Net Zero, as well as to a circular economy, with thousands of business and job opportunities. 

Recycling all major components could generate 5,000 UK offshore wind sector jobs. However, a more advanced circular model, involving remanufacture and refurbishment of turbines and components, would extend this to 20,000 extra jobs – this would amount to an increase of a third on the UK government’s current 2030 target.  

“Onshore wind decommissioning is fast becoming a practical problem for many European countries. To date, across Europe, 34,000 turbines are known to be 15 years or older. There will be a big market for decommissioning onshore wind farms over the next decade and, if we act now, Scotland is in a prime position to provide a circular solution and establish competitive advantage.” 

Source: iema.net, November 2021 

Vodafone to Trial Phone Masts with Inbuilt Wind Turbines 

After two years of development, Vodafone working in partnership with Welsh start-up company Crossflow Energy have developed a new kind of phone mast. These incorporate a transverse-axis wind turbine which can capture wind energy at a range of different speeds. Vodafone’s involvement in this project will see the first proof of concept pilot beginning by the end of 2021. 

Vodafone believes the masts will be a suitable solution for remote locations in particular, as they mitigate the need for developing a connection to the grid. This can be an expensive process; the firm has called it an “insurmountable civil engineering challenge” for the “most rural” parts of the UK 

During the trials, Vodafone will co-locate the masts with onsite battery storage, so there is no need for diesel generators for backup power. They should generate enough electricity to be self-sufficient. 

Since announcing its net-zero target in June, Vodafone has kick-started several new innovation projects for emissions reduction. In July, the firm partnered with UK Power Networks to trial ‘smart’ methods of delivering energy flexibility at electricity substations, designed to improve efficiency. Furthermore, in September, Vodafone confirmed plans to deploy 1,500 low-power 5G units, after trials in Central London delivered a 43% reduction in energy consumption. 

Source: edie.net, November 2021 

Fines and Prosecutions 

Housing Company Fined for Polluting Watercourse 

A housing company was ordered to appear at Leeds Magistrates’ Court on Monday 23rd November 2021, where it proceeded to plead guilty to polluting a tributary of Grimescar Dyke with silt at Lindley Park on February 8th, 2018. 

The company had purchased land at the location for the development of a housing estate in 2012, with the site including a series of tanks and lagoons for flood prevention measures. After following reports of discoloration of water at Grimescar Dyke, on February 8th 2018, an Environment Agency Investigation traced the source of silt pollution to one of the aforementioned tanks present on site. 

The company stated that the drainage infrastructure of the site had been cleared by a contractor, and that the activity could have potentially impacted on the discharge from the tank. The silt discharge impacted Grimescar Dyke for at least 1.2km, having the potential to cause significant harm to fish, blocking their gills as well as damaging breeding grounds.  

The company were fined £200,000, ordered to pay costs of more than £8,500, and a victim surcharge of £170. 

The Environment Management Team Leader for the Environment Agency stated, “This case emphasises the need not only for companies to have a comprehensive water management and pollution prevention plan in place but also to ensure it is fully implemented and all activities on site are properly supervised and monitored.” 

Online learning and events 

Post-COP26: Net Zero Strategy briefing for local authorities 

30th of November 2021, 10.00 – 11:00am (GMT) 

An interactive webinar, Alyssa Gilbert from the Grantham Institute and Cara Jenkinsonfrom Ashden join Paul Allen from our Zero Carbon Britain team to share their insights following COP26 and the publication of the Net Zero Strategy and Heat and Building Strategy. 

  • Includes speaker conversation, small group participant interaction and Q&A 
  • Booking required (see below) 

Learn more and book a place for this interactive webinar.

Decarbonising the UK Energy Sector Digital Conference 

6th of December 2021, 10.00 – 11:00am (GMT) 

As the country recovers from the economic damage of COVID-19, and following the launch of the Ten Point Plan for recovery last year, green industries represent not only a way to ‘build back better,’ but to place the UK at the centre of a new Green Industrial Revolution. To achieve this vision, the government is mobilising £12 billion in public investment, and as much as 3 times that from the private sector. 

Join Westminster Insight’s Decarbonising the Energy Sector Digital Conference to explore the latest developments in low carbon hydrogen, energy storage, carbon capture and storage, and new nuclear power. We will also discuss the policy, finance, and infrastructure requirements to secure their success towards achieving our target to reach Net Zero by 2050. 

  • Explore the transition of the UK’s industries; what projects are underway, and what the next stages of development are. 
  • We will focus on the crucial role green finance plays in enabling the transition to net zero and how further private sector investment in green projects can be mobilised. 

Learn more and secure a place for this online event

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