Consultation on reforming business energy efficiency taxes

Were you affected by the Carbon Reduction Committment (CRC) when it was introduced in 2010? If so, you will know that the goalposts were moved by the government when it decided that levies paid under the scheme would not be returned to registrants, effectively turning the scheme – intended to promote energy savings – into a tax.  A new consultation launched today is seeking views on how to ‘simplify and improve’ the way businesses report to government on their energy … Continued

Retailer guidance on carrier bag charges updated

Defra have released an updated version of their guidance Carrier bag charges:retailers’ responsibilities.. From 5 October 2015, all large retailers (those employing 250 or more fte employees across their organisation) must charge a minimum 5p for each obligated carrier bag they provide to customers. Most single use carrier bags will be obligated, although exemptions apply for bags containing ONLY: uncooked fish, meat, or poultry; unwrapped food for consumption; unwrapped loose seeds; flowers; bulbs, corms or rhizomes; soil contaminated goods; unwrapped … Continued

Giving victims of environmental crime a voice

The EU Victims Directive came into force in 2012 and much has been done to implement it in terms of ‘standard’ crimes in the UK. It is now reported that the Environment Agency is preparing to introduce rights for environmental crime victims under the framework of the Directive. These rights are reported to include a means for those affected by environmental crimes to challenge authority decisions taken regarding crimes, particularly in respect of whether or not to prosecute those involved. However, … Continued

Revised ISO 14001 published today

After much deliberation and review, the revised Environmental Management standard is published today. Organisations already certified have up to three years to move over the new standard, but will it make any difference? The revised standard is intended to make explicit some of the more implicit areas of the 2004 standard, with communications, senior management buy-in and actual environmental performance being key changes. Marek Bidwell has produced a useful guide to the changes that can be purchased directly from his … Continued

Consultation on Draft Air Quality Plans

Following on from our report on the Supreme Court ruling that the government must improve air quality plans, DEFRA have today launched a consultation on a new draft air quality plan. The consultation, which only applies to England, Wales and Northern Ireland, is open until 6 November 2015 and details are here. A Scottish consultation will open on September 14th. The consultation seeks views from all interested parties, including members of the general public, and asks six specific questions: Do you … Continued

CJEU rules on SVHC ‘articles in articles’ case

Yesterday (10 September 2015) the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) gave it’s eagerly awaited final ruling on whether, in respect of Article 7 and 33 notification requirements,Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) were to be considered in light of the whole article or all component parts. The ruling, which goes against guidance issued by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) is likely to have a massive impact on the chemicals supply chain. Under the requirement of the REACH … Continued

Accepted Enforcement Undertakings list published

The Environment Agency has recently (27 August 2015) published the list of enforcement undertakings (EU) accepted primarily between 6 April and 31 July 2015, although there is a note that it includes previously unpublished EUs accepted between 1 September 2014 and 5 April 2015. Enforcement undertakings are one of a suite of civil sanctions available to those who become aware that they have breached environmental laws and wish to come into compliance without going through a criminal prosecution. The offer … Continued

Ignorance of producer responsibility laws is no defence!

It has long been held that ignorance of the law is not a defence (ignorantia juris non excusat) and a Middlesex company recently had this costly lesson confirmed in the courts. Babz Media Ltd were recently prosecuted for offences under three Producer Responsibility regimes (Packaging, WEEE and Batteries) and, despite not having be aware of the regulations before they were contacted by enforcement officers from the Environment Agency, were found guilty by Ealing Magistrates Court – on 6 August 2015 – … Continued