Regulatory Timeline | Environment – April 2016

Written on 14 Apr 2016

“Building on the UK government’s progress under the Cutting Red Tape initiative, 2016 will see a continued focus on the deregulation
of environmental activities.  A sharper definition of waste is eagerly anticipated in the early part of the year, with refinements to follow in 2017.  Meanwhile the EU is still in the throes of developing the circular economy package, so we watch with interest the effect of that on the UK waste economy.”

Matthew Germain, Associate Director, Osborne Clarke

1 April 2016 – Landfill tax

From 1 April 2016, the lower rate of landfill tax increased to £2.65/tonne and the standard rate increased to £84.40/tonne.

1 April 2016 – Hazardous waste

From 1 April 2016, the current obligation to register a hazardous waste premises notification for each site, where more than 500kg/year of hazardous waste is stored, produced or handled, has been replaced by a new producer registration obligation.

Businesses will now have to fill out a new form of consignment note on each transfer of hazardous waste. When hazardous waste is moved from any premises it will have to be accompanied by the new form of consignment note, which must include reference to the business name instead of the business premises registration. This applies in England only.

22 April 2016 – Ratification of the Paris Agreement

The European Commission proposes to ratify the Paris Agreement on behalf of all EU Member States once it opens for signatures on 22 April 2016. The Paris Agreement is the first universal and legally binding deal to tackle global warming and requires Member States to set ambitious targets for cutting their national emissions. The UK’s Committee on Climate Change is reviewing the Paris Agreement and will decide whether the UK needs to change its current global warming targets in order to meet the new targets under the Agreement.

24 May 2016 – Welsh government: Building Regulations Sustainability Review

The Welsh government is consulting on its plans to incorporate aspects of its Sustainable Buildings National Planning Policy into the Welsh Building Regulations. The proposals relate to the non-energy elements of the policy, including changes to sanitation, hot water security and water efficiency.

The consultation closes on 24 May 2016.

30 May 2016 – Aviation Emissions Reduction

The European Commission is consulting on using market-based mechanisms (MBMs) to reduce the impact of international aviation greenhouse gas emissions. The consultation is seeking views on MBMs being developed by the International Civil Aviation Organisation as well as in relation to the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS). The temporary derrogation from the application of EU ETS to flights to and from countries which fall outside the European Economic Area expires at the end of 2016.

The consultation closes on 30 May 2016.

Q2 2016 – Definition of “waste”

The government intends to deliver its first phase of amended guidance in England in order to clarify the definition of “waste” and “by-products” under the EU Waste Framework Directive. This guidance will be business-focused and will be followed by a second phase of guidance in March 2017 for legal and technical users.

Q2 2016 – Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Regulations

We anticipate that the European Commission will adopt a proposal to amend the scope of the RoHS Directive 2011 in the second quarter of 2016.

Q3 2016 Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations

The government has committed to build on simplifying the accreditation process and reducing the complexity of the WEEE Regulations by summer 2016.

Q3 2016 End-of-life vehicles

The government will launch a consultation on the recovery of recyclable materials from end-of-life vehicles and certificates of technical competence. The consultation is part of the government’s wider commitment to reduce bureaucracy in the waste and recycling sector.

Q3/Q4 2016 – Packaging recycling targets

The government will legislate later in 2016 to reduce statutory plastic packaging recycling targets for 2016 and 2017. It will also set new recycling targets for glass and plastic packaging for 2018, 2019 and 2020:

  • for plastic, the existing target will be reduced from 52% to 49% for 2016, but will then be increased by 2% each year up to 57% in 2020; 
  • for glass, the existing target of 77% will be maintained until 2017 and then increased by 1% each year up to 80% in 2020.

Q4 2016 – Emissions reduction plan

The Department of Energy and Climate Change intends to announce new policies at the end of 2016 to meet emissions reduction targets.

The new proposals are expected to reflect the UK’s move away from coal towards gas and nuclear power, as well as increased investment in renewables capacity.

2016/17 – Environmental permitting

Following the government’s pilot scheme in early 2016, the majority of organisations which are regulated under the Environmental Permitting Regulations will soon be able to submit and monitor their emissions and pollution inventory digitally.

2016 to 2019 – Circular Economy Package

On 2 December 2015, the European Commission adopted a new Circular Economy Package. The Commission is now calling on the European Parliament and European Council to adopt and implement the legislative proposals contained within that package.

The Package will amend European directives for fertilisers (including anaerobic digestate) and waste water, and will introduce significant changes to the national collection and recycling of waste, waste vehicles and electrical and electronic equipment. Stricter limitations will also be imposed on packaging waste and landfilling.

The elements of the Package will be negotiated and agreed over the next three years, with new directives expected to be passed into EU law in 2017 and to come into force in 2019.

2016 to 2019 – Climate Change Levy (CCL)

CCL rates will be increased by RPI on 1 April each year to 2018, with the main CCL rate to be increased in 2019. CCL discounts will be increased from 1 April 2019 for those with climate change agreements in place.

2016 to 2019 – Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC)

Allowance prices for compliance years 2016/2017, 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 will be increased in line with RPI.

1 April 2018 – Minimum energy efficiency standards: private rental sector

Landlords of privately rented domestic and non-domestic properties must not grant new leases to new or existing tenants after 1 April 2018 where the energy performance of the property is below the minimum energy performance indicator of level E.
From 1 April 2023, the regulations will apply to all privately rented non-domestic properties. This will include where a lease is already in place.

31 March 2019 – CRC

The CRC will be abolished from the end of the 2018/2019 compliance year, with the final surrender of allowances in October 2019.