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Fortnightly Bulletin – 7th May 2024

7 May 2024

Box of plastic bottles

Policy Paper

Deposit Return Scheme for drinks containers: policy statements

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) first policy statement provides an update on the drink containers Deposit Return Schemes across the UK. This is a joint policy statement from:

  • The UK Government,
  • The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs of Northern Ireland (DAERANI),
  • The Scottish Government,
  • The Welsh Government.

The second policy statement sets out the UK Government’s position on glass drinks containers in the Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) in England, and the position regarding the UK Internal Market Act 2020.

A written ministerial statement was laid in parliament on the 25th of April 2024.

Source. Gov.UK

For the full policy paper, click here

Guidance

Denaturing controlled drugs that have become waste: RPS 4

This Regulatory Position Statement (RPS) does not change your legal requirement to have an environmental permit for a waste operation when you store, sort and denature (alter the qualities of) controlled drugs that have become waste, at another place.

However, the Environment Agency will not normally take enforcement action against you if you do not comply with this legal requirement provided that:

  • your activity meets the description set out in this RPS,
  • you comply with the conditions set out in this RPS.

In addition, your activity must not cause (or be likely to cause) pollution of the environment or harm to human health, and must not:

The RPS applies when you store, sort and denature controlled drugs (at another place) coded:

  • 18 01 09 – medicines from natal care, diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease in humans,
  • 18 02 08 – medicines from research, diagnosis, treatment or prevention of disease involving animals,
  • 20 01 32 – medicines separately collect as household waste.

A person who is authorised under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations can store, sort and denature controlled drugs at the place they became waste under a T28 waste exemption: sort and denature controlled drugs for disposal.

However, T28 does not allow you to store, sort and denature waste controlled drugs:

  • returned by patients or healthcare workers to a pharmacy, medical or veterinary practice,
  • brought together at collection points or denaturing sessions,
  • in patients’ homes.

You must:

The EA intends to review this RPS by the 31st of January 2027.

Source: Gov.uk

For the full guidance, click here.

Extended producer responsibility for packaging: who is affected and what to do

The Environment Agency (EA) updated this guidance document on 16th of April 2024 on the collection period and reporting deadlines for nation data. The first report of nation data will be for the 2024 calendar year and must be submitted by 1st of December 2025.

Source: Gov.uk

For the full article, click here

UK Emissions Trading Scheme for aviation: how to comply

The EA updated its this guidance document on the 23rd of April 2024 for the ‘Appointing an independent verifier’ section to explain how to assign a verifier in the ‘Manage your UK Emissions Trading Scheme reporting’ services (known as METS).

To help make sure you are ready to report your emissions by the 31st of March, you should appoint a verifier by July in the scheme year. This means your verifier can start the verification process as soon as possible. They can start to check the data you will need for compliance from the first six to nine months of the scheme year. This avoids a heavy workload in January or February the following year and possible delays in completing the verification process.

There is a list of UKAS accredited verifiers in METS.

If you are using a verifier that already has an account in METS, you can assign them to your METS account under the ‘Users and contacts’ section and from the ‘Select verification body’ drop-down list.

If you are using a verifier that does not have an account in METS, you will need to notify your regulator so they can be added to the system, and you can assign them to your account.

Find more information on verification and a list of UKAS accredited verifiers for UK ETS at:

Source: Gov.uk

For the full guidance, click here

Manage waste upholstered domestic seating containing Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs)

The EA have updated this guidance on the 26th of April regarding the following:

  • How to identify waste upholstered domestic seating containing POPs.
  • Separating waste containing POPs from other materials.
  • Transporting whole and shredded items of waste upholstered domestic seating.
  • Preparing waste containing POPs for destruction.

Source: Gov.uk

For the full guidance, click here

Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (ESOS)

The Manage your Energy Saving Opportunity Scheme (MESOS) is now available to complete notification of compliance.

The deadline for submitting notification of compliance is the 5th of June 2024 (previously 5th of December 2023).

You should aim to meet this compliance notification deadline where possible but if you cannot, the EA and devolved administration regulators will not take enforcement action, provided you meet both these deadlines: 

  • You registered your account in the system by 5th of June 2024.
  • You submitted your notification of compliance by the 6th of August 2024.

Source: Gov.uk 

For the full guidance, click here 

Articles of Interest

UK grain harvest could be cut by a fifth amid wet weather

Wet and challenging weather conditions across the UK could cut grain harvests by a fifth, according to the Energy & Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU).

Analysis found that the production of wheat, barley, oats and oilseed rape could decline by four million tonnes compared with 2023, a reduction of 17.5% and 21.2% compared to the 2015 to 2023 average. The production of spring barley and oats is forecast to increase by 27% and 23%, respectively, compared to last year due to the larger area of spring crops forecast to be sown this year. However, ECIU said that this is not enough to offset the 26% reduction in winter wheat production, 33% decline in winter barley and 38% drop off in oilseed rape.

Many other crops have also been affected by the weather conditions, including potatoes, with some UK supermarkets having shrunk potato pack sizes from 2.5kg to 2kg without a decrease in price, equating to around a 25% price increase per kilo to shoppers.

UK farming unions have since called on major retailers to support the industry with measures such as implementing a steadfast commitment to local sourcing, to respond “promptly to any request” from its members for a review of the terms of their contracts, including on price, as well as flexibility on product specification if produce does not fully conform to the exact description previously agreed.

For the full article, click here

Government delays bottle recycling scheme again until 2027

The Government has delayed its bottle recycling scheme again until 2027, as ministers blame disagreements between the UK regional administrations.

The government’s flagship Deposit Returns Scheme (DRS) which would see small cash amounts being paid in return for plastic bottles or used cans, has been postponed, despite first being officially proposed in 2018.

In a written statement, Environmental Minister, Robbie Moore admitted “launching a DRS in October 2025 was a stretching target date”.

Moore added: “Following extensive engagement with industry, who will be responsible for delivering the DRS, and a review of international approaches to DRS implementation, additional time will be needed to efficiently and effectively roll out the schemes across the UK.

“With the agreement of ministerial colleagues across the devolved administrations, the DRS will go live in October 2027.”

MPs have blamed the pushback on inability of the government to agree on nuances of the initiative, such as the Scottish administration, which insists on being able to add glass to the recycling scheme.

Among critics of this latest delay in policy, Labour has voiced its criticism of the decision, but noted it still publicly backed the scheme – meaning regardless of who wins the next general election, the initiative will still be implemented.

The government’s plans follows several businesses introducing their own bottle recycling return initiative, such as Lidl who earlier in the year became the first supermarket to roll out its own PET plastic return scheme, in exchange for incentives.

For the full article, click here

Aldi moves to 100% recycled plastic on water bottles in UK first

Aldi has become the first UK supermarket to move to 100% recycled plastic for its own-brand soft drinks and bottled water range in England and Wales.

The move, which excludes only the cap and label, is rolling out across all products found in the soft drink section of the discounters stores.

The switch to 100% recycled content is expected to save around 10,000 tonnes of virgin plastic annually and forms part of the grocer’s target to include 50% recycled content into its plastic packaging across the business by 2025.

It follows similar moves by Aldi in recent weeks to remove plastic from its product portfolio.

Earlier this month, the supermarket launched plastic-free packaging on its everyday own-label toothbrushes, replacing the plastic and card packaging with a solely cardboard alternative.

Last month, Aldi also unveiled recyclable paper wine bottles to offer “greener choices” and “drive sustainable change”.

The new packaging, which is thought to be a first for UK supermarkets, rolled out across the discount grocer’s own-brand Cambalala South African Shiraz and South African Sauvignon Blanc.

For the full article, click here

Biodiversity Net Gain: How developers can grow a successful strategy

As the property and construction sector continues to get to grips with the Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) legislation now in place, planning law experts, Stuart Tym and Laura Swindells from Knights look at the key points to be aware of and how to build a successful strategy to ensure delivery of development.

For the full article, click here

Enforcement action

Further enforcement action at a landfill in Pembrokeshire

Natural Resource Wales (NRW) have taken further enforcement action at a landfill in Pembrokeshire, by setting out the urgent steps that must be taken by the site operators to address the ongoing odour and landfill gas emission issues at the site.

NRW have issued the site operator a further Regulation 36 Enforcement notice, which requires the operator to deliver a series of actions by a specified deadline. This new enforcement activity requires the operator to deliver the additional steps they need to take and completed by the 14th of May.

If the actions outlined in this new Notice are not complied with, NRW will not hesitate to take further action and will consider all the regulatory tools available – including issuing a Section 37 suspension notice, should this be appropriate.

Source: Natural Resources Wales

For the full article, click here

Events

Green skills: Priorities, challenges and delivery event summary

13th of May 2024 12:00-13:30

Building the workforce of the future will be a fundamental challenge, but it also presents substantial opportunities. The net zero transition will require the delivery of green skills across education and the workforce at a considerable pace, so prioritising the right pathways is crucial for urgent and effective implementation.

Recent developments have expanded conversations about delivering green skills, offering an opportunity to make rapid and evidence-led progress. Green Alliance’s recent report:  ‘Green shoots: growing the green workforce of the future’ provides a crucial insight into how the UK can meet its green skills challenge and why action is needed. The report highlights the strong desire of young people to be part of the solution, the barriers they face, and the need for more accessible pathways into green jobs.

This online panel discussion brings together perspective from professional bodies Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and research, looking at priorities for green skills, key challenges, and how to deliver the workforce of the future in practice.

Source: SocEnv

To register, click here

Recent Insights

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Fortnightly Bulletin - 22nd April 2024

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