Your fortnightly bite size summary of environmental news, cases and comment focusing on the waste, water, manufacturing and other environmentally regulated sectors. Look out for our quarterly round ups and regular webinars.
Ross' Reflections - Editor's comments by Fiona Ross, Associate
Welcome to Enviro-Comply
The past month has seen the publication of key details of the Government's Electricity Market Reform policy, including fundamental detail on the design of the proposed Capacity Market and draft legislation for both this and Contracts for Difference. The proposals are out for consultation until Christmas Eve, and those interested in participating in the Capacity Market, or who may wish to obtain support for renewable generation under Contracts for Difference, should make sure they comment, as this will be the key and potentially last opportunity to make representations and influence the shape of these schemes.
In terms of the waste sector, the wrangle over the Government's withdrawal PFI credits rumbles on, with a number of local authorities now granted leave for judicial review and Norfolk County Council considering whether to follow suit. The whole issue certainly doesn't inspire confidence in the Government's commitment to new waste infrastructure, and will be the subject of a National Audit Office Report in early 2014 – something that the industry is likely to welcome.
Meanwhile, the Welsh Government continues to showcase its ambitions in terms of waste policy, unveiling proposals for new legislation obliging operators of energy from waste plants to ensure that recyclables are not incinerated, as well as landfill bans for certain materials. It is undeniable that England now trails behind the devolved administrations as far as moving towards a "zero waste" economy goes, and DEFRA has been the subject of continuing criticism from industry bodies as a result. However, it remains to be seen whether this will inspire more strategic thinking and clearer policy for England.
I hope you enjoy the articles below – we're keen to have your feedback so please do let us know what you think or tell us what issues you would like to see covered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeting us @PinsentsEnvLaw
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Scottish Government proposes introduction of presumption in favour of sustainable development – comment by Gary McGovern 29 October 2013
The Scottish Government is consulting on introducing a presumption in favour of sustainable development, in line with England and Wales.
Legislative changes on the way to deal with Viking Energy decision as Scottish Government confirm intention to operate business as usual - comment by Gordon McCreath 25 October 2013
Changes to the law have been proposed which would allow parties that are not licence holders to apply for consent for a generating station under s.36 of the Electricity Act.
Government will "roll back green charges" and make energy market more competitive, says Prime Minister – 25 October 2013
The Government plans to "roll back" environmental regulations that have pushed the cost of energy bills to a "completely unacceptable level".
DECC update on CCS shows sustainable energy issues "working their way up the political agenda" – comment by Jacqueline Cook 21 October 2013
DECC has published a progress report on the development of commercial scale Carbon Capture and Storage, reiterating the Government's support for this technology.
Industry broadly welcomes introduction of mandatory WEEE collection targets – comment by Eluned Watson 17 October 2013
Compliance schemes for collection of WEEE will be subject to mandatory targets from January 2014 once changes to EU law are implemented in the UK.
Draft Electricity Market Reform legislation published, although implementation timetable delayed – comment by Fiona Ross 15 October 2013
The timetable for implementation of Electricity Market Reform has slipped but key details on the Capacity Market have now been published.
Proposed EU environmental impact assessment requirements could impact UK fracking industry – comment by Richard Griffiths 11 October 2013
A proposed EU requirement for fracking to be subject to environmental impact assessment (EIA) could impact the growing shale gas industry in the UK.
Government outlines central role for "sensitively sited" solar power generation – 9 October 2013
Up to 20 gigawatts of new solar PV energy generation will play a central role in the UK's drive to produce 15% of its final energy use from renewable sources.
Products & Events
Legislation, Definition and Criteria associated with End of Waste – SORP Workshop
Fiona Ross, Associate in our Environment Team, is presenting to industry on the legal test for end of waste, with a focus on end of waste for organic materials, on 18th November 2013 at Manchester Town Hall. The conference will focus on the challenges and opportunities in terms of demonstrating end of waste for organic wastes, with a combination of technical and legal presentations and information from the regulator.
Other speakers include Professor Stephen Smith of Imperial College London and Roger Hoare, Head of the End of Waste Panel at the Environment Agency. The full programme is available here.
If you are interested in attending please click to register here.
Yorkshire Contaminated Land Forum Meeting – 22nd November 2013
Helen Peters, Legal Director in our Environment Team is presenting at the Yorkshire Contaminated Land Forum meeting to be hosted at Pinsent Masons' Leeds office – 1 Park Row, Leeds – on 22nd November 2013. Helen's presentation will focus on legal issues associated with lease surrender, and there will be networking and pre-Christmas drinks nearby after the event.
If you are interested in attending please click here to register.
Special Report: UK Shale Gas and the Environment
Pinsent Masons' head of client relationships in the energy and natural resources sector, Paul Rice, has provided expert legal comment for the ENDS Report special report on UK Shale Gas and the Environment, looking at the key environmental and sustainability challenges facing the fast growing sector.
To download the report for free click here.