Brexit Briefing: Weekly Media Summary – 19 January 2018


Brexit Briefing - Weekly Summary

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 the a UK Parliament vote in favour of the legislative blueprint for Brexit, the pro-EU House of Lords will have their say next & Boris offers to “bridge” closer ties with the EU, are:

To Convince Voters May Must Focus On Sincerity, Not The Environment (HuffPost, 19 January 2018)

Government to carry out major environmental assessment of UK seas (The Guardian, 19 January 2018)

Boris Johnson’s Channel bridge entirely possible, say experts (The Times, 19 January 2018)

May Once Again Refuses to Say How She Would Vote on Brexit Now (Bloomberg, 18 January 2018)

Brexit checks UK environmental consulting market growth (EnvironmentAnalyst, 18 January 2018)

As May Beats a Path to Brexit, EU Opens Door for U.K. Return (Bloomberg, 17 January 2018)

What does Brexit mean for sustainability in the built environment? (RICS, 17 January 2018)

Facebook Is Investigating Possible Russia Meddling in Brexit (Bloomberg, 17 January 2018)

Justine Greening: Next generation of MPs could ‘improve or undo’ Brexit (BBC News, 17 January 2017)

MPs back Brexit legislation, stiffer tests yet to come (Reuters, 17 January 2018)

One in three businesses put growth plans on hold due to Brexit (The Irish Times, 17 January 2018)

EU Toughens Demands on U.K. for Brexit Transition in Draft (Bloomberg, 16 January 2918)

Leave campaign’s £350m claim was too low, says Boris Johnson (The Guardian, 15 January 2018)

Tory Rebels to Pass Battle Over May’s Key Brexit Bill to Lords (Bloomberg, 15 January 2018)

Explainer: Breaking down the Scottish Government’s Brexit impact study (CommonSpace, 15 January 2018)

Jeremy Corbyn rules out UK staying in single market after Brexit (The Herald, 14 January 2018)

Senior Scottish Tory warns Brexit row could end up in court (The Scotsman, 14 January 2018)

DUP leader Arlene Foster calls for close Anglo-Irish relations during Brexit talks (Sky News, 13 January 2018)

Spanish and Dutch Agree to Seek Soft Brexit Deal (Bloomberg, 12 January 2018)

Second EU referendum would reverse the Brexit vote reveals shock poll for the Mirror (Mirror, 11 January 2018)

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Brexit Briefing: Weekly Media Summary – 12 January 2018


Brexit Briefing - Weekly Summary

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 the a UK Government re-shuffle & the publication of a 25-year Environment Plan, are:

The greenwashing of Theresa May (Politico.eu, 11 January 2018)

Brexit Bulletin: 482,000 Jobs? (Bloomberg, 11 January 2018)

Theresa May pledges Brexit Britain will lead global fight against plastic pollution (Politico.eu, 11 January 2018)

Brexit legislation ‘may breach environmental democracy laws’ (EnergyLive News, 10 January 2018

Theresa May’s environment speech: A 10 point green economy wish-list (BusinessGreen, 10 January 2018)

Brexit bill may have broken international environment law, says UN (The Guardian, 9 January 2018)

New enforcement agency could be in place before Brexit (letsrecycle.com, 9 January 2018)

Theresa May’s cabinet reshuffle: promotions, demotions and exits (The Guardian, 9 January 2018)

Brexit Bulletin: Weak and Stable? (Bloomberg, 9 January 2018)

The Tory trade bill would usher in the worst bits of TTIP – it must be stopped (The Guardian, 8 January 2018)

‘Rural resilience’: Gove outlines future vision for farming post-Brexit (FarmingUK, 8 January 2018)

May to move or sack quarter of cabinet in wide-ranging reshuffle (The Guardian, 7 January 2018)

Brexit Bulletin: How the Deal Could Unravel (Bloomberg, 5 January 2018)

Farmers to be paid for helping the environment after Brexit (Metro, 4 January 2018)

Liam Fox’s Pacific plan is toxic. Post-Brexit trade policies need proper scrutiny (The Guardian, 4 January 2018)

Focus on quality not weakened regulation post-Brexit, Gove tells farmers (The Guardian, 4 January 2018)

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A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment


A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment

Today’s (11 January 2018)  announcement sees the culmination of an environmental week for the UK Government with visible signs of a green awakening with promises of a clampdown on plastic waste, an extension of the 5p plastic bag charge to include smaller shops in England & even the Environment Minister – Michael Gove carrying a re-usable coffee cup.

Part of this renewed interest in the environment is based on the political pressure to do more for the environment after the Tory think-tank Bright Blue identified the environment as a key issue for young voters, who failed to back the party in large numbers at the 2017 general election. Additionally, the environment is featuring in the Brexit process and will need to be secured for our future relationship with the EU.

The 25-year Environment Plan identifies the following areas:

  1. Using and managing land sustainably
  2. Recovering nature and enhancing the beauty of landscapes
  3. Connecting people with the environment to improve health and wellbeing
  4. Increasing resource efficiency and reducing pollution and waste
  5. Securing clean, healthy, productive and biologically diverse seas and oceans
  6. Protecting and improving our global environment

In terms of putting the Plan into practice, there is an outline of the process given in the final section (page 128 – 151) covering the setting of a long-term direction with flexibility to adapt to new evidence and circumstances including measuring progress towards the goals, the use of better evidence for better decision-making & refreshing the 25 Year Environment Plan every five years.

Additionally, reporting on progress, governance and accountability have been integrated especially with progress reporting and ensuring an independent oversight and accountability.

Further discussion is made of supporting strong local leadership and delivery together with funding, financing and incentivising improvement in natural capital by continuing public investment, catalysing private investment and working across society to secure lasting change.

Initial reaction to the publication of the 25-year Environment Plan today has highlighted the following issues:

Labour has said the proposals are a “cynical attempt at re-branding the Tories’ image”, while Green Party Co-leader Caroline Lucas said that the plan would need to be backed up by an Environment Act with timetables and legislative weight as reported by edie.

Already some of the Environment Plan has come in for criticism over the plans for achieving zero avoidable plastic waste by the end of 2042 with no specific plans for how this can be achieved in a report by BBC News

Only time will tell on whether the UK Government can deliver on its promises.

For now, it is important to recognise this moment as a key milestone for the protection and development of our shared environment & that will involve all of us in achieving the outcomes.

A copy of the document: A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment and its Annexes can be freely downloaded from the links below:

A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment

Annex 1: Supplementary evidence report

Annex 2: Government strategies to protect and improve the environment

Annex 3: The UK’s international agreements to protect or improve the environment

ACTION POINTS

  1. Review the UK Government’s proposals for actions and outcomes in their 25-year Environment Plan.
  2. Consider the issues that affect your business and opportunities to work within the delivery of the Environment Plan.
  3. Respond to any further consultations on new or revised environmental Regulations, which are designed to support the Environment Plan.
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CONSULTATION: EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation Enforcement


CONSULTATION: EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation Enforcement

The EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation (The IAS Regulation) applies restrictions on invasive non-native species of most concern in Europe, including a ban on keeping and selling.

This consultation sets out proposals for enforcing those restrictions through the use of civil and criminal penalties. It will be of relevance for businesses that import or trade in non-native species and individuals that keep them, as well as those working in zoos and aquaria and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) with an interest in protecting the environment from these species.

The IAS Regulation entered into force on 1 January 2015, fulfilling Action 16 of Target 5 of the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy. It provides for a set of measures to be taken across the EU in relation to invasive alien species included on a list of Invasive Alien Species of Union concern. For more information about the species included on this list click here.

All comments should be submitted using the online survey with any additional contact via invasivealienspecies@defra.gsi.gov.uk by the deadline on Tuesday, 3 April 2018 & a copy of the Consultation documents and online survey are freely available here

ACTION POINTS

  1. Review whether your operations fall within the requirements of the Regulation (EU) 1143/2014 on invasive alien species (the IAS Regulation).
  2. If you are obligated under the above legislation then consider whether to provide comments to the consultation on the proposed enforcement process and provide any comments on or before Tuesday, 3 April 2018.
  3. Upon publication of the statutory instrument on the enforcement process (expected later in 2018), take appropriate actions to meet the requirements of the above.
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CONSULTATION: UK National Standard for Marine Oil Spill Response Providers


UK National Standard for Marine Oil Spill Response Providers

Under the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998 (SI 1988 No.1056) (as amended), all UK ports, harbours and oil-handling facilities must submit Oil Spill Contingency Plans (OSCP) to the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), or, for responsible persons for offshore installations, Oil Pollution Emergency Plans (OPEPs) to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), for approval.

As part of the approvals process for category A&B ports, harbours and oil handling facilities (as detailed in the OPRC Guidelines for Ports), the MCA require contingency plans to detail the contract they hold with accredited third-party Tier 2 Marine Pollution Response Service Providers (hereafter referred to as “provider”).

Similarly, BEIS require responsible persons to detail in OPEPs any arrangements in place with a specialist oil spill response provider (as detailed in the Guidance Notes for Preparing Oil Pollution Emergency Plans).

As present other than the requirement for the response provider to be accredited, there are no mandated standards for this service provision.

However, through the implementation of a UK National Standard for Marine Oil Spill Response Providers, the MCA and BEIS are seeking to develop their oversight of an industry with strategic importance to the UK and to ensure that minimum standards are adhered to which are commensurate to the threat from marine oil pollution. The UK Standard will be applied by any accrediting body which submits a proposed scheme of accreditation to the MCA and BEIS for approval.

The UK Standard has been published as a draft version with both, the MCA and BEIS seeking comments from all stakeholders. Whilst, anyone can comment on the document, the MCA and BEIS are primarily looking for comments from the main stakeholders, who are required to apply the Standard, the marine pollution response industry and those who do or may in the future contract a response provider.

The consultation will run for two months from 8 January 2018 to Friday, 9 March 2018. During the consultation, any questions on the Standard will be answered; questions and answers may be published on the consultation page to ensure all stakeholders remain informed.

At the close of the consultation period, stakeholder comments will be considered and reasonable amendments made to the Standard. Based on the current timetable, it is anticipated that the implementation of the UK Standard will be in-place in late Spring to early Summer 2018.

It should be noted that post-implementation, response providers wishing to continue to hold Tier 2 contracts will have a one-year grace period during which to be re-accredited under a scheme which applies the UK Standard.

All comments should be submitted to ukresponderstandard@mcga.gov.uk by the deadline of 23:45 Hrs on Friday, 9 March 2018 & a copy of the Consultation documents can be freely downloaded here

ACTION POINTS

  1. Review whether your operations fall within the requirements of the Merchant Shipping (Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation Convention) Regulations 1998 (SI 1988 No.1056) (as amended).
  2. If you are obligated under the above legislation then consider whether to provide comments to the consultation for a UK Standard and provide any comments on or before 23:45 Hrs on Friday, 9 March 2018.
  3. Upon publication of the final UK Standard (expected late Spring – early Summer 2018), take appropriate actions to meet the requirements of the above legislation and the UK Standard.
Posted in Accreditation, Business Benefits, Government, Marine Environment, United Nations, Water Pollution | Leave a comment

Brexit Briefing: Weekly Media Summary – 22 December 2017


Brexit Briefing - Weekly Summary

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 the UK passed into the next phase of the negotiations with Teresa May (UK Prime Minister) gaining support from the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP)  party in Northern Ireland, UK MPs rebel over the vote & Defra is recruiting 1,200 more staff to cope with Brexit demands, are:

How to perfect your Brexit chat this Christmas (BBC News, 21 December 2017)

One government department is recruiting 1,200 new full-time staff to cope with Brexit, showing the scale of the challenge (BusinessInsiderUK, 21 December 2017)

REACH to be converted into UK law, government confirms (ChemicalWatch, 21 December 2017)

Packaging protected from national bans by circular economy agreement (Resource, 21 December 2017)

2017 green policy review: A year of progress and pleasant surprises (edie, 20 December 2017)

Half of Defra’s Brexit work streams involve IT, NAO finds (Computer Weekly, 20 December 2017)

EU says Brexit transition should last to end-2020 (AFP, 20 December 2017)

Jenifer Rankin (Twitter – The Guardian, 19 December 2017)

Hammond plays down Brexit rift reports (BBC News, 19 December 2017)

The impact of Brexit on life sciences (EPR, 19 December 2017)

Owen Paterson: To make Brexit a success, we must break free from the over-taxed, over-regulated European model (ConservativeHome, 19 December 2017)

Theresa May condemns abuse of MPs over Brexit (BBC News, 19 December 2017)

Industry Calls for ‘Gove Guarantee’ on Agri-Environment Schemes (Stackyard, 18 December 2017)

Regulators, industry identify challenges ahead for EU biocides (ChemicalWatch, 18 December 2017)

Conservative rebels urge May to build cross-party alliance for soft Brexit (The Guardian, 18 December 2017)

Coveney: ‘Relationship with DUP needs to be repaired (itv News, 17 December 2017)

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Can Environmentalists enjoy Christmas?


Can Environmentalist enjoy Christmas

Even the most ardent and enthusiastic supporter of Christmas can not be oblivious to the fact that it has moved a long way from its religious roots that maybe we forget the true message of the birth of Jesus Christ to bring peace to the world.

So too, it can affect the most conscientious environmental and sustainability professional to make a momentary lapse of good sustainability practice and forget our own message by turning to the “dark side” of unsustainability.

The Christmas period is, now, a commercial juggernaut of conspicuous consumption, which seems to extend from September with the first sighting of Christmas cards and wrapping paper in September, through to the many gift adverts for perfume and expensive gifts on TV and in the media &, finally, to the abrupt return to work in early January with an expanded waistline and a temporary aversion to alcohol.

Only Black Friday and Cyber Monday has lessened the consumerism of Christmas in recent years & that has only been achieved by establishing another axis to anchor and elongate the pre-Christmas buying frenzy.

I am not immune from being wrapped up in the need to spread seasonal joy to my family and friends over the Christmas & with that comes the expectation that we lose our normal senses and over-consume.

Take a look around your local supermarket especially the large out-of-town behemoths and you can’t help but notice the larger than usual trollies filled with quantities of food that would easily feed several household or lead to a massive cholesterol overload to its recipients. And the size of the trollies increases as we steadily approach Christmas day itself.

Christmas Shopping 2017

An even more unseen consumption occurs online with the overall internet shopping spend over the Christmas season expected to top last year’s figure of £21 billion (2016) out of a total Christmas spend of over £77 billion with many families turning to Amazon instead of Santa to deliver their presents.

The quantity of Christmas cards, wrapping paper and cardboard boxes that formerly contained our presents generates a significant waste mountain (with cardboard alone responsible for 300,000 tonnes – 2015) as can be evidenced from the overly full wheelie bins being collected after Christmas not to mention the huge glass recycling effort formed from the bottle that contained our wine and spirits imbibed over the holidays.

I do my bit to reduce my family’s environmental impact over Christmas but I have my lapses…

My Confession...

So here is my moment of confession – One of a favourite Christmas memories from a few years ago has been an artificial Christmas tree, which has become a family tradition. My family joined me after a business trip in the USA and they wanted to ensure that we could celebrate with presents around a Christmas tree – only thing is we didn’t have the tree. So we took off to the local Walmart to buy a 6ft Christmas tree and duly had a great Christmas. When it came to the time to return home, we couldn’t face leaving the tree and promptly took it on the flight home. As a father, it was the right decision to respond to the pleas of my young son to save the tree from its (otherwise) ignominious fate in the hands of the hotel manager.

As an environmentalist, I was conflicted. Not only had the tree made a long journey from China to the USA to be at the very Walmart, when we walked in to buy it but I took it on an equally unsustainable journey from the USA back to our home in the United Kingdom. Even, in my darkest hours, I have tried to rationalise these actions as being sustainable through a whole life-cycle analysis (on the back of a envelope) but I know that it would not stand-up to any form of scientific peer review.

To atone for my sins, I am leading a return to a more sustainable Christmas this year with all our food sourced from local farms in West Sussex (where we live), festive drinks have been brought that have organic accreditation & we will limit our travelling so as not to travel 100’s of miles to be with friends and relatives, who the next day will travel similar distances to be with their extended families and for us to return home with a carbon footprint to give Al Gore, a heart attack, & the material for a third “inconvenient truth” film.

But is that enough to confess our sustainability sins & to eat locally sourced and organic “humble pie”…

Or should we give up and join the rest of humanity for the frenzy over the Christmas season?, or take the “bah humbug” approach and withdraw into our sustainable cocoons?

Indeed, can we ever be truly sustainable over the Christmas season?

I have shared some of my thoughts on a sustainable Christmas and the inherent conflicts that are posed by our modern society & how I try to take personal leadership at a complex time of the year, which challenges me to think even harder about my own sustainability values.

If you have any confessions on your Christmas sustainability lapses or thoughts on how you reconcile your sustainability principles with the Christmas season & what actions you have taken to be more, sustainable against the tide of conspicuous consumption that is all around you, I welcome your comments.

Merry Christmas

References:
2016 – UK Christmas spending to hit record £77.56bn in 2016

2015 – Tis the season to be aware of recycling

Posted in Carbon Management, Environmental, Life Cycle Analysis, Sustainability | Leave a comment