Environment | UK Regulatory Outlook November 2023
Published on 29th Nov 2023
Provisional agreement reached on new EU law on environmental crime | Agreement reached on EU proposal to reduce methane emissions in energy sector | Biodiversity net gain: government publishes draft biodiversity gain plan template and guidance
Provisional agreement reached on new EU law on environmental crime
The Council and European Parliament have reached a provisional agreement on the proposed law on protecting the environment through criminal law.
As noted in our Insight, the new proposal will replace the 2008 directive and aims to improve the investigation and prosecution of environmental crime offences by imposing a number of new EU environmental criminal offences and tougher sanctions.
The number of offences has been increased from nine to eighteen and new offences include timber trafficking, the illegal recycling of polluting components of ships and serious breaches of legislation on chemicals.
For companies that commit an environmental offence, the fines range from 5% of the total worldwide turnover, or an amount corresponding to €40 million, for the most serious offences, to 3% of total worldwide turnover, or an amount corresponding to €24 million, for all other offences.
Individuals, including company representatives, committing environmental offences causing death can be sentenced to imprisonment for 10 years, and a five year prison sentence for offences committed with at least serious negligence causing death. For other intentional offences included in the legislation, a maximum prison term of either at least five years or at least three years could be given.
The agreed draft text needs to be approved by both the European Parliament and Council before it can enter into force.
Agreement reached on EU proposal to reduce methane emissions in energy sector
The European Parliament and Council have reached a provisional agreement on a new EU regulation which reduces energy sector methane emissions.
The new regulation introduces a number of obligations for the fossil gas, oil and coal industry including to carry out regular checks on their equipment that is in EU territory to detect and repair methane leaks.
Additionally the regulation will require operators to regularly report and verify methane emissions and will introduce bans on flaring and venting unwanted methane into the atmosphere.
Biodiversity net gain: government publishes draft biodiversity gain plan template and guidance
While the government has delayed the implementation of mandatory biodiversity net gain requirements for new planning applications to January 2024 (see our previous Regulatory Outlook), the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has recently published a draft biodiversity gain plan template and related draft guidance for developers and local planning authorities, as well as step by step flowcharts for land managers.