In just over two week’s time, this year’s World Environment Day (5 June 2018) will start and will provide an opportunity for each of us to embrace the many ways that we can help to combat plastic pollution around the world.
And we can all start now…
“Beat Plastic Pollution”, the theme for World Environment Day 2018, is a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. Chosen by this year’s host, India, the theme of World Environment Day 2018 invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health.
While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences. Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. 500 billion disposable plastic bags are used worldwide every year. In total, 50 per cent of the plastic we use is single use.
Nearly one third of the plastic packaging we use escapes collection systems, which means that it ends up clogging our city streets and polluting our natural environment. Every year, up to 13 million tons of plastic leak into our oceans, where it smothers coral reefs and threatens vulnerable marine wildlife. The plastic that ends up in the oceans can circle the Earth four times in a single year, and it can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates.
If you can’t reuse it, refuse it
There are so many things that we can do – from asking the restaurants you frequent to stop using plastic straws, to bringing your own coffee mug to work, to pressuring your local authority to improve how they manage your waste.
Here are some other specific ideas:
- Bring your own shopping bags to the supermarket
- Pressure food suppliers to use non-plastic packaging
- Refuse plastic cutlery
- Pick up any plastic you see the next time you go for a walk on the beach
As if there have not been enough warnings about the approaching deadline to transition to accredited ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015 from National Accreditation Bodies, Certification Bodies & Consultants, the IAF/ILAC Mid-Term Meetings 2018 enabled accreditation bodies and certification bodies to review the transition to the 2015 ISO 9001 and ISO 14001 quality and environmental management system standards.
They have noted significant progress as the last five months of the transition period approaches, which has been supported by the IAF (International Accreditation Forum) resolution that no certification and auditing activities using the previous versions of the two International Standards was permitted after 15 March 2018.
To further emphasise the transition deadline, the IAF has issued a communiqué to highlight the requirement for any organisation that still needs to transition its management system to make every effort to ensure that the 15 September 2018 deadline is met.
As previously confirmed by the IAF from 15 September 2018, all ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004 certificates will expire and no longer be valid. This means that each certified organisation must work with their certification body to ensure that all elements of the certification process have been completed, from audits to the technical review and decision by the certification body to the issue of the certificate by the deadline.
A copy of the IAF / ILAC communiqué is available for free download here
- If your organisation has accredited certification to ISO 14001:2014 or ISO 9001:2008 then you should review the IAF / ILAC communiqué document.
- Consider the opportunities for transition to ISO 14001:2015 and ISO 9001:2015 before the transition deadline of 15 September 2018.
- Work towards your transitional requirements with your internal Quality or Environmental management, external consultant (if appropriate) and Certification Body.
As reported in an earlier article (Waste Carrier, Broker and Dealer registration renewals due after 25 March 2018), the Environment Agency has identified an issue in relation to their current online registration system, which does not allow customers who have registered since March 2015 to renew online.
The Environment Agency has been working to upgrade their system so customers can renew online, but it will not, now, be ready until June 2018.
Accordingly, the Environment Agency has reviewed and re-issued a Regulatory Position Statement (RPS 208), so that Waste Carrier, Brokers and Dealers can operate lawfully in the interim period.
If you need to renew after 25 March 2018 and until June 2018, the Environment Agency will:
- tell you what you need to do if the extension applies to you when they send you your renewals reminder
- extend your current registration by 3 months at no extra cost – you will not need to renew until the upgraded online registration system is ready
- extend the registrations of affected customers in stages until the upgraded online registration system is ready
- put a notice on the renewals page of the online registration system telling those affected about the automatic extension
- make sure your business is still registered and visible on the public register during the extension period
The Environment Agency will not take enforcement action against you if you do not register during the 3 month extension period.
They will take enforcement action against you if you do not register after the 3 month extension period.
Time Expiry of RPS
RPS 208 is time-limited to a further review on an unspecified date in June 2018, when it will either be withdrawn due to the resolution of the on-line registration issue or extended at that time for a further period.
A copy of the Environment Agency’s revised Regulatory Position Statement 208 is freely available here
- Review your current activities as a business that is required to re-registered as a Waste Carrier, Broker or Dealer to understand whether the Environment Agency’s RPS 208 applies to your organisation and activities as a compliance obligation.
- If RPS 208 applies to your activities to ensure that you comply with its conditions during the interim period: 25 March – June 2018.
- Check back with the Environment Agency in June 2018 to review whether RPS 208 still applies as this is their review date for this RPS.
These Regulations have been drafted to give the Secretary of State the power to impose civil sanctions by way of fixed and variable monetary penalties on persons in respect of certain criminal offences under the following legislation:
the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998 (S.I. 1998/1056);
the Offshore Chemicals Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002/1355);
the Offshore Installations (Emergency Pollution Control) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002/1861);
the Offshore Petroleum Activities (Oil Pollution Prevention and Control) Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/2055); and
the Offshore Combustion Installations (Pollution Prevention and Control) Regulations 2013 (S.I. 2013/971).
These Regulations are made by virtue of section 62(2) of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 (c.13) and under Section 2(2) of the European Communities Act 1972 (c.68), rather than being an Order under Part 3 of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008.
The key changes and provisions are summarised as follows:
- Offences are enforced by the Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment & Decommissioning of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
- For some offences, the Secretary of State may impose either a fixed or a variable monetary penalty; for others, only one of the penalties is available.
- Fixed and variable monetary penalties may be imposed only if the Secretary of State is satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that an offence has been committed (see regulations 4(1) and 11(1)). A penalty may not be imposed if the Secretary of State is satisfied that the person would not, by reason of any defence, be liable to be convicted of the offence (see regulations 7(3) and 14(2)).
- Penalties must be paid within 28 days of receipt of the final notice or non-compliance penalty notice (see regulations 7, 14 and 18). The Secretary of State may recover the amount of any unpaid penalty as if payable under a court order. The Regulations make provision to ensure that there is no prospect of multiple sanctions or convictions being imposed in relation to the same offence.
- The amount of the fixed monetary penalty in relation to an offence is set out in the Schedule. Before imposing a fixed monetary penalty, the Secretary of State must first serve a “notice of intent” (see regulation 5). A person who receives a notice of intent may, within 35 days of receipt, make representations to the Secretary of State or discharge liability for the penalty by paying two-thirds of the amount. A person who discharges liability for a penalty in this way may not be convicted of the offence in relation to which the notice of intent was served in respect of the act or omission constituting the offence (see regulation 10(1)(b)).
- The Secretary of State must consider any representations made and decide whether or not to impose the fixed monetary penalty (see regulation 7). If the decision is to impose the penalty, a “final notice” must be served.
- The amount of a variable monetary penalty in relation to an offence is determined by the Secretary of State (see regulation 11). Before imposing a variable monetary penalty, the Secretary of State must first serve a “notice of intent” (see regulation 12) setting out the amount of the penalty. A person who receives a notice of intent may, within 35 days of receipt, make representations to the Secretary of State and offer an undertaking as to action to be taken (including the payment of a sum of money) to benefit persons affected by the offence.
- The Secretary of State must consider any representations made, decide whether to accept any undertaking offered and decide whether or not to impose the variable monetary penalty or to impose a penalty of a lower amount (see regulation 14). An undertaking may be accepted even if the penalty is not imposed. If the decision is to impose the penalty, a “final notice” must be served.
- Where a person fails to comply with an undertaking accepted by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of State may impose a monetary penalty (a “non-compliance penalty”) on the person of an amount determined by the Secretary of State by serving a “non-compliance penalty notice” (see regulation 18). Where an undertaking is accepted but no variable monetary penalty is imposed, it is possible for a person who fails to comply with the undertaking to be convicted of the offence in respect of the act or omission giving rise to the undertaking (see regulation 17(2)).
- A person may appeal to the First-tier Tribunal against the decision to impose fixed and variable monetary penalties and non-compliance penalties (including the amount of a variable monetary penalty or a non-compliance penalty) (see regulations 9, 16 and 19
- Miscellaneous provisions cover:
- The Secretary of State must publish guidance about the use of the powers to impose fixed and variable monetary penalties and non-compliance penalties and must have regard to the guidance in exercising functions under these Regulations (see regulation 20). In addition, Section 64 of the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 requires the Secretary of State to publish enforcement guidance.
- The Secretary of State must from time to time publish a report specifying the cases in which the civil sanctions have been imposed (see regulation 21).
- Section 67 of that Act provides for the Secretary of State to review these Regulations as soon as practicable after these Regulations have been in force for 3 years. In light of this requirement, the Secretary of State has published a statement under section 28(2)(b) of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 (c.26) that it is not appropriate to make provision for review in these Regulations.
A copy of the draft Offshore Environmental Civil Sanctions Regulations 2018 can be freely downloaded here.
- If your business was obligated under any of the following legislation: the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998 (S.I. 1998/1056), the Offshore Chemicals Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002/1355), the Offshore Installations (Emergency Pollution Control) Regulations 2002 (S.I. 2002/1861), the Offshore Petroleum Activities (Oil Pollution Prevention and Control) Regulations 2005 (S.I. 2005/2055) and the Offshore Combustion Installations (Pollution Prevention and Control) Regulations 2013 (S.I. 2013/971), you should review the draft Regulations.
- Consider the opportunities for compliance with the Offshore Environmental Civil Sanctions Regulations 2018 based on the current draft version.
- Check back for the final published version of the Offshore Environmental Civil Sanctions Regulations 2018 to incorporate it as a compliance obligation, which is anticipated to come into force on 1 October 2018.
This Friday’s edition of the Brexit Briefing is part of the series of posts to highlight articles published in the media covering Brexit from an environmental perspective.
The articles are presented in chronological order with the most recent articles first. They are not presented in any specific order of importance & are provided as a selected sample of news articles to promote understanding of the key environmental issues as they develop during the Brexit process.
The selected articles from this past week, which saw Barnier make an offer for the UK to re-join the EU – Reds Lines can cause problems, a celebration of the Good Friday Agreement & Businesses and EU want to retain EU environmental standards in a post-Brexit UK, are:
EU wants legal assurance Britain won’t lower environmental standards after #Brexit (EUreporter, 13 April 2018)
British businesses want to retain EU legislation after Brexit, study finds (People Management, 12 April 2018)
Green Brexit policy worse for environment, report finds (EuroNews, 12 April 2018)
Green Brexit unlikely despite government claims, report concludes (Edie, 12 April 2018)
U.K. Won’t Pay Brexit Bill Until Trade Deal Is Clear, Davis Says (Bloomberg, 12 April 2018)
‘Dear David’ – Merkel Tries to Romance Cameron and Save EU (Bloomberg, 12 April 2018)
Experts warn of need for devolution overhaul post-Brexit (The Scotsman, 12 April 2018)
Barnier: UK can change mind on single market until end of 2020 (BBC News, 11 April 2018)
Good Friday Agreement 20 years on (itv News, 10 April 2018)
Special delivery for Copeland MP (CumbriaCrack, 10 April 2018)
Businesses face Brexit “storm” of regulatory changes, says Hogan Lovells (CityAM, 9 April 2018)
Green Brexit – a positive step forward? (GreenCredentials, 9 April 2018)
Britons Back Holding a Vote on May’s Brexit Deal (Bloomberg, 9 April 2018)
On Spring’s frontline with Scotland’s struggling farmers (The Herald, 7 April 2018)
Pound Sterling Forecasts at Most Optimistic Since EU Brexit Referendum Shows New Poll (PoundSterlingLive, 6 April 2018)
In a week of various regulatory and guidance documents on the subject of renewable transport fuels & Greenhouse gas emissions following on from a post early this week (Motor Fuel Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Guidance), a new amendment Regulation has been prepared.
The draft Regulations have been laid before Parliament under sections 124(5) and 192(3) of the Energy Act 2004, section 2(8) of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999, and paragraph 2(2) of Schedule 2 to the European Communities Act 1972, for approval by resolution of each House of Parliament. It is anticipated that the Regulations will come into force on Sunday, 15 April 2018.
The key changes and provisions are summarised as follows.
- Part 2 contains consequential amendments to section 132 of the Energy Act 2004 (c.20).
- Part 3 amends the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order 2007 (S.I. 2007/3072), “the RTFO Order”) covering various amendments in relation to:
- amend the definitions used in the RTFO Order including, in particular, the creation of a new definition for “development fuel” (Regulations 7 and 8),
- amend certain transport fuel suppliers’ obligations in relation to the production of evidence to show that certain amounts and types of renewable transport fuel have been supplied in the United Kingdom during a particular period; they also amend the way that amounts of fuel are calculated (Regulations 9 and 10),
- make provision that requires that Renewable Transport Fuel Certificates (“RTFC”) must specify, of 3 categories, the particular type of fuel to which the RTFC relates. Regulation 19 makes provision for the award of an additional RTFC for a volume of fuel in certain circumstances (Regulation 18),
- substitute the provision as to the redemption of RTFCs by suppliers in later obligation periods (Regulation 20),
- amend the provision as to the calculation of the payment that is required if a supplier fails to meet its main renewable transport fuel obligation or its development fuel target or both (Regulation 22),
- set out the maximum amount of renewable transport fuel derived from relevant crops which may count towards suppliers meeting their obligations in a particular period (Regulation 23).
- Part 4 amends the Motor Fuel (Road Vehicle and Mobile Machinery) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulations 2012 (S.I. 2012/3030) to make various amendments in relation to:
- definitions (Regulations 29 and 30),
- insert the provision for certain suppliers to incur an obligation to produce evidence that they have reduced or offset amounts of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions where they have supplied, in a particular period, energy products with GHG emissions per unit of energy above a specified threshold (Regulation 34),
- substitute the provision as to the evidence or information that must be provided by certain suppliers and applicants for GHG credits (Regulation 40),
- insert further details about the evidence or information required (Regulation 50),
- insert various new provisions in relation to GHG credits, in particular as to the calculation of the number of credits that may be issued to a supplier, applications for credits, the issue of credits, transfers of credits, revocation of credits and the payment that must be made in certain circumstances if a supplier fails to discharge a GHG reduction obligation (Regulation 45), and;
- amend the provision as to penalties if certain provisions are contravened (Regulation 47).
- Pursuant to section 7(8) of the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 (c.24), the amendments set out in Part 4 extend to Northern Ireland.
A copy of the draft the Renewable Transport Fuels and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations 2018 can be freely downloaded here.
- If your business was obligated under the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order 2007 or Motor Fuel (Road Vehicle and Mobile Machinery) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulations 2012 & you believe that you may be obligated under the Renewable Transport Fuels and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations 2018, you should review the draft Regulations.
- Consider the opportunities for compliance with the Renewable Transport Fuels and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations 2018 based on the current draft version.
- Check back for the final published version of the Renewable Transport Fuels and Greenhouse Gas Emissions Regulations 2018 to incorporate it as a compliance obligation, which is anticipated to come into force on 15 April 2018.
The UK Government has published a guidance document for reporting under the Motor Fuel (Road Vehicle and Mobile Machinery) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulations 2012 as amended (‘the GHG Reporting Regulations’), which came into effect on 15 April 2012.
The GHG Reporting Regulations implement the reporting requirements from Directive 98/70/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council relating to the quality of petrol and diesel (known as the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD)).
From April 2018, the GHG Reporting Regulations are amended in order to implement Council Directive (EU) 2015/652 of 20 April 2015 laying down calculation methods and reporting requirements pursuant to the FQD (known as the ‘FQD Article 7a implementing Directive’).
This guidance provides information on how fuel suppliers should comply with the Motor Fuel (Road Vehicle and Mobile Machinery) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulations, as amended.
The aim of the guidance document is to provide information on how suppliers should comply with the GHG Reporting Regulations and practical information on how they should submit the required information to the Administrator. This document provides detailed instructions and information on:
- The GHG reduction and reporting obligations that the GHG Reporting Regulations place on certain suppliers;
- Applying for and maintaining an account with the Administrator;
- Applying for GHG Credits;
- Reporting information to the Administrator;
- Penalties for non-compliance.
The guidance document should be read in conjunction with the guidance on the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligations Order 2007 No. 3072 (the RTFO Order), as amended, as these schemes operate closely in parallel.
The GHG Reporting Regulations are a key measure for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from the fuel supplied for use in i) road vehicles, and ii) non-road mobile machinery (including inland waterway vessels which do not normally operate at sea), agricultural and forestry tractors, and recreational craft that do not normally operate at sea – termed “Road” and Non-Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) respectively throughout the rest of the guidance document.
The guidance document and associated policies ensure compliance with the FQD, which requires suppliers of fuels for use in road transport and non-road mobile machinery to achieve at least a 6% reduction in life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from the transport fuel that they supply by 2020, relative to the EU average life cycle greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels in 2010. Renewable aviation fuel and electricity supplied to vehicles may also contribute to suppliers’ GHG reduction targets.
A copy of the Motor Fuel Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulations Guidance From 15/4/2018 is available for download here
- If your business was obligated under the Motor Fuel (Road Vehicle and Mobile Machinery) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulations 2012 then you should review the guidance document.
- Consider the opportunities for compliance with the Motor Fuel (Road Vehicle and Mobile Machinery) Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulations 2012 & the associated guidance document.
- Incorporate the guidance document: Motor Fuel Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Guidance as a compliance obligation.