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Fortnightly Bulletin – 7th November 2022

7 November 2022

Glacier

Legal Updates

Restriction on the Disposal of Chemicals in Fire Extinguishers

The Environment Agency is applying restrictions on persistent organic pollutants (POPs) entering the sewerage system. The restrictions apply to water-based (Foam or Wet Chemical) fire extinguishers which contain chemicals known as POPs, PFAS, C6 and/or PFHxA, and have a ‘B-class’ fire rating.

These restrictions require this type of fire extinguisher to be disposed of by high-temperature incineration, rather than discharging to the sewer.

UK businesses should avoid the installation of new extinguishers which contain these chemicals.

UK businesses should also attempt to remove the already installed extinguishers, to which the restrictions apply, and when they become damaged or have been used and require refilling, replacing them with alternative pollutant-free fire extinguishers.

To read more on this updated legislation, click here.

Guidance

Operating Peaking Combustion Power Plant in an Emergency in Winter 2022: RPS 268

This updated guidance outlines the Environment Agency’s enforcement position on when large and medium peaking combustion plant can exceed annual operating hour limits in their IED permits.

This regulatory position statement (RPS) does not change your legal requirement to comply with your environmental permit.

However, if you comply with the requirements of this RPS the Environment Agency will not normally take enforcement action if you exceed the annual operating hour limits in your Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) permit because you need to operate at times of electricity shortage in 2022.

This enforcement position does not apply to any other legal requirements.

To read more on this updated guidance, click here

Deposit For Recovery Operators: Environmental Permits

This updated guidance outlines how to submit an appropriate environmental permit application for a deposit for recovery operation and what to include in a waste recovery plan.

This guidance is for operators who are planning to:

  • carry out a new deposit for the recovery operation
  • make changes to an existing deposit for the recovery operation

To read more on this updated guidance, click here.

Articles of Interest

Site Of The UK’s First Fusion Energy Plant Selected

West Burton power station site in Nottinghamshire has been selected as the home for the UK’s prototype fusion energy plant.

The government announced that the West Burton power station site in Nottinghamshire has been selected as the home for ‘STEP’ (Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production), the UK’s prototype fusion energy plant which aims to be built by 2040. Fusion is based on the same physical reactions that power the sun and stars and is the process by which 2 light atomic nuclei combine while releasing large amounts of energy. This technology has significant potential to deliver safe, sustainable, low-carbon energy for future generations.

The government-backed STEP programme will create thousands of highly skilled jobs during construction and operations, as well as attracting other high-tech industries to the region, and further the development of science and technology capabilities nationally.

The ambitious programme will also commit immediately to the development of apprenticeship schemes in the region, building on the success of the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s (UKAEA) Oxfordshire Advanced Skills centre in Culham. Conversations with local providers and employers have already begun, with schemes to start as soon as possible. The UK government is providing £220 million of funding for the first phase of STEP, which will see the UK Atomic Energy Authority produce a concept design by 2024.

To read the full article, click here.

All of Africa’s glaciers are to be lost by 2050.

Glaciers across the globe – including the last ones in Africa – will be unavoidably lost by 2050 due to climate change, the UN says in a report. The report, which makes projections based on satellite data, comes as world leaders prepare to meet in Egypt for next week’s COP27 climate change conference.

About 18,600 glaciers have been identified across 50 UN World Heritage sites. They represent almost 10% of the Earth’s glacierised area and include renowned tourist spots and places sacred to local populations.

The retreat and disappearance of glaciers were “among the most dramatic evidence that Earth’s climate is warming”, the report said.

“We hope we might be wrong, but this is the hard science,” said UNESCO project officer Tales Carvalho Resende, one of the authors. “Glaciers are one of the valuable indicators of climate change because they’re visible. This is something we can see happening.”

The remaining glaciers in the other two-thirds of UN World Heritage sites could be saved, but only if the world limits global warming to 1.5C, the authors say. Another UN report last week found that the world currently had “no credible pathway” to achieve that.

To read the full article click here.

Fines and Prosecutions

Waste Holder Fined £5,000 For Failing in Duty of Care

A Barnsley landowner faces financial penalties of over £5,000 after failing to comply with an Environment Agency notice to keep and serve Waste Transfer Notes.

Environment Agency Officers served a statutory notice to a Barnsley landowner, following an investigation into fly-tipping in a layby at Windmill Hill on the A17 near Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

The notice required the landowner to hand over paperwork supporting the transfer of waste from her land in Carlton, Barnsley, South Yorkshire. Officers attended the site in October 2020 and gave the individual advice on the actions she needed to take. These included the removal of excess waste and the importance of retaining relevant Waste Transfer Notes for waste that had been removed.

When officers returned to the site in June 2021, they noted that the vast majority of the waste had gone. However, when asked to provide the Waste Transfer Notes, the individual failed to provide any documents in respect of the waste removed.

The transfer notes were requested between the dates of the Environment Agency visits. After 12 months the landowner did provide a single document, but this did not match the waste on her site. It did not provide the information legally required by a transfer note. In particular, it did not identify the person removing the waste.

To read the full article regarding this prosecution, click here.

Strong Regulation Helping to Protect the Environment

Fines totalling £105 million were brought about by Environment Agency prosecutions in 2021.

Environmental regulation is helping businesses to protect the environment and tackle the climate crisis, a new report has revealed, with more work needed to reduce serious water pollution incidents.

Some 97% of industrial sites overseen by the Environment Agency are in the top compliance bands when it comes to protecting the environment, based on a five-year moving average, helping to ensure our air, land, and water is protected from harm.

And last year, the Environment Agency’s regulation led to the closure of 561 illegal waste sites and uncovered 445 new sites. It also ensured a nine million tonne reduction of CO2 compared to 2020 through the climate change emissions trading and energy efficiency schemes it manages.

This is alongside a record 99% of bathing waters in England meeting or exceeding the minimum quality standard last year.

To read the full article regarding this prosecution, click here.

Online Learning and Events

Key Outcomes and the Impact on Climate Policy Presented by Pledge to Net Zero
21st November 2022 – 15:00-16:00

This webinar gives a practical overview of the key decisions made at COP27 and the practical impact on businesses, organisations and Pledge To Net Zero members especially.

In a practical 45 minutes, the webinar will give a clear summary of the key decisions made in Egypt and what this means for UK climate policy and businesses. The webinar is aimed especially at Pledge To Net Zero members, but all are welcome to join. 

Click here to register for this webinar.

Green Careers Hub: Your Next Step Towards a Sustainable Future
23rd November 2022 – 12.30 – 13.15

This webinar will talk about the importance of green jobs and skills, as well as take you through the plans for the expansion of the Green Careers Hub in 2023, to a platform where anybody can go to access information and opportunities around green skills, jobs and careers.

Click here to register for this webinar

Environment Impact Assessment for Infrastructure Masterclass
1st December 2022

Join the Environment Impact Assessments for Infrastructure Masterclass in December to understand the policy developments that are transforming environmental requirements and gain essential guidance on overcoming the challenges of conducting EIA.

Attend to receive practical strategies for including biodiversity net gain and explore how to meet net zero requirements, for new projects. You will hear all the insight needed to conduct the EIA for your project, as you discover tools for improving the efficiency of the EIA process.

From effectively engaging with local stakeholders and understanding how to implement proportionality in your application, to the use of new digital tools and the future use of Environmental Outcome Reporting, this is an essential update for environmental professionals.

Click here to register for this webinar

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