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IPPC makes way for IED

by kevin Considine, Senior Policy Adviser, Climate & Environment 6. January 2011 13:29

The Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) entered into force today.  The Directive which consolidates the Industrial Pollution Prevention and Control Directive (IPPC) and six other existing Directives related to industrial installations was designed with the aim of providing a single clear and coherent legislative instrument for controlling pollution from industrial operations.

 The Industrial Emissions Directive was the outcome of a difficult and, at times, protracted lobbying campaign, but resulted in a workable and pragmatic outcome for industry and which ensures an improving level of environmental protection from sources of industrial pollution.  EEF was actively engaged on this campaign issue from the outset.

 At the core of the new Directive are the provisions to include an operating lifetime extension for large combustion plants and the continuation of derogations for operators from Best Available Technique (BAT) where justified. 

 The UK government (DEFRA) and regulator (Environment Agency) will begin working closely with stakeholders on how to implement the new requirements of IED.  The UK (and other Member States) has until 6 January 2013 to transpose the requirements of IED into national legislation (i.e. 2 years from 'entry into force'). In England & Wales this is likely to be via the Environmental Permitting Regulations.

Other important IED dates which are noteworthy are:

  • From the 6 January 2013 IED will apply to all new installations
  • From 6 January 2014 IED will apply to existing installations that previously were subject to IPPC, WID, SED and TiO2 directives (but not LCPs).
  • From 6 July 2015 IED will apply to existing installations operating newly prescribed activities (e.g. specified waste recovery activities, wood preservation. 
  • From 1 January 2016 LCPs must meet the specific requirements set out in Chapter III and Annex V of the IED

The IED builds upon the IPPC Directive, which is liked by industry for its risk-based approach to determining environmental permitting decisions.  It is now important that the Directive is successfully transposed into UK law.  EEF will be working as a key stakeholder in future government discussions to ensure this is the case.

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Beware what the New Year brings

by kevin Considine, Senior Policy Adviser, Climate & Environment 17. December 2010 11:46

The New Year will see the Environment Agency flex its new found muscle as it starts to use the six new civil sanction powers that were introduced under the Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008.

Five of the new powers: Fixed Monetary Penalties; Variable Monetary Penalties; Compliance Notices; Restoration Notices; and Stop Notices, do more or less what their title suggests.  However, the sixth power, an Enforcement Undertaking (EU) is a new offering and may be used widely by the Agency. 

An EU allows an offender to agree with the regulator a course of corrective action rather than face prosecution.  The Agency has developed an ‘undertaking form’ and guidance on its website to make it easy for offenders to offer an EU.

The Agency’s decision to pursue these new powers was in due to its frustration at having no real middle ground between offering advice/cautions and formal prosecution. It also didn’t help that its success at prosecution was pretty poor.

The Agency has argued that these new powers will give it greater scope to influence and affect change within an organisation.  During the consultation process, in which EEF was actively engaged with government and the regulator, the Agency was keen to stress that these powers would not be issued flippantly like parking tickets.  The first port of call for any inspector would be to offer information and advice where a non compliance has been observed, but could resort to civil sanctioning powers where there is repeated non-compliance.

These new powers mark the start of a new and hopefully increasingly positive relationship between the regulator and regulated industry.  However, to ensure the transition of civil sanctions from policy development to deployment are fairly and equitably applied EEF wants to hear from members where these powers have been exercised and for what reasons.  We want to ensure that the Agency honours its consultation commitment that the powers will not be the regulators default position and that they will be applied consistently and proportionately.   

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Environment Agency awarded additional funding from Brussels

by kevin Considine, Senior Policy Adviser, Climate & Environment 8. November 2010 13:34

The Environment Agency has successfully had its £4.3m bid for ‘Improving Guidance on Regulations for Enterprise and the Environment’ (iGREEN) approved by the European Commission as part of its 2009 LIFE+ process.  Getting iGREEN approved is an excellent opportunity for the Agency to improve its advice and guidance to business, particularly SME’s, against a backdrop of massive domestic public sector budget cuts and uncertainty.

 

The funding will permit the Agency to develop upon its existing NetRegs service, which has already been cited as European best practice by the DG Enterprise BEST project (2006) for its innovative approach to delivering practical, sector-specific, environmental guidance to businesses across the UK. 

 

Going beyond the well-written guidance of NetRegs the iGREEN project will help deliver a package of innovative solutions aimed at improving the delivery of advice and guidance by using multimedia and multiple channels. If successful, this will allow delivery of essential environmental messages to regulated businesses, to change behaviour and reduce impact on the environment. This will be achieved through improving the way guidance is packaged for businesses and extending outreach to a wider business community.

 

EEF has been an active supporter of the Agency’s iGREEN campaign.  In addition to our role as a member of the Agency’s NetRegs Business Activity Group we also outlined our support for the bid process in a formal letter to Agency’s Director for Business & Environment, Ed Mitchell.

 

The Environment Agency is not alone in benefitting from 2009 LIFE+ process.  SEPA, NIEA, HMRC and WRAP were associated beneficiaries of the iGREEN bid team.  Business also stands to benefit from the project, the Agency predicts an increased administration burden saving from £32m to £56m+.

 

The project timeline for iGREEN is 1 January 2011 – 31 December 2013.  During this period the Agency must deliver on its four main project objectives. Listed in order of importance, these objectives are:

  1. Develop access to an innovative range of linked interactive products and services to help businesses comply with their environmental obligations.
  2. Coordinate market intelligence and market research between relevant business support stakeholders to ensure maximum uptake of crucial environmental messages.
  3. Communicate the new services to the business community and relevant policy and support organisations within the UK and to other Member States.
  4. Effectively manage and monitor the technical and financial aspects of the project – Ensuring stakeholders have committed to a shared strategy to ensure the sustainability of the project outputs.

EEF will continue to take a keen interest in iGREEN to ensure that the aim and objectives of the project are delivered.  I look forward to providing you with more information on this project in the New Year when it is formally launched.

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Blog

Should we be concerned for the Environment Agency?

by Gareth Stace, Head of Climate & Environment Policy 1. October 2010 15:44

I believe that the relationship between the Environment Agency and manufacturers is the best it has ever been, so therefore I am deeply concerned that major changes are afoot at the Regulator. We’re told that it might lose 40 per cent of funding it receives from central government, which could result in a 25 per cent cut in its 13,000 workforce.

We have criticised the Environment Agency in the past for significant variability in the quality of its inspectors, for its keenness to prosecute and then ask questions and its tendency for treating industry as the ‘bad guys’. Things have moved on a lot since then, so much so that a specialist Environment Agency inspector attends the entirety of our Policy Committee meetings. Our members really value the presence of the Regulator there, to hear manufacturers concerns and to work through issues together, rather than adopting an ‘us and them’ approach. The Agency gets to see, at first hand, the problems and barriers industry faces on a day to day basis.

EEF therefore would support any move, by the Agency, to develop national hubs of sector excellence, which can address our historical concerns of variable enforcement across England and Wales.

By and large the Agency is not only, trying to work with sectors to eliminate pollution incidents, but to increase process efficiency. Its NetRegs programme is a shining example of this. A largely underused resource that offers manufacturers and other sectors advice and compliance support on current and forthcoming regulations. A resource that is currently provided free, but more valuable than many paid for services out there.

Of course, the Agency must keep focused on its core remit. For example, the Agency doesn’t need to have a voice in climate change mitigation policy. It doesn’t have the regulatory leverage to deliver on this. However, it is central to government policy on climate change adaptation and climate change regulation compliance.

If this government body is not focused, our concern is that vital resources will be redirected from essential parts of the Agency at a time of increasing financial pressure. The Agency is already stretched and needs to retain its focus.

This message is also true for any proposals that the EA puts forward on developing a monitoring and reporting system that aims to measure the resource efficiency of manufacturing sites. My first reaction on hearing this, was ‘apples and pears’, how can a useful measure be calculated and reasonably reflect a manufactures’ process. Even if it could be done, why is it needed, what purpose would it achieve?

Although relationships have improved, we will of course be watching the Agency closely in the coming months to ensure it uses its new Civil Sanctions responsibly.

In the current ‘Bonfire of the Quangos’, government should not make a rash decision and throw the baby out with the bath water. The Environment Agency is doing a good job, within the limited resources it currently has.

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Is there a storm looming over CRC

by Gareth Stace, Head of Climate & Environment Policy 6. August 2010 09:38

Things are hotting up ahead of both, the deadline for CRC registration and government reviewing the scheme.

 

I hear that despite both DECC and the Environment Agency (EA) going all out to make sure that all organisations that should be registering for Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) Energy Efficiency Scheme, are signing up, less than half have already done so.

 

As well as this, my concern is that there are still organisations that consider that there is no need to register, because either the organisation is in a Climate Change Agreement, or they believe the organisation, as a whole, does not qualify.

 

All this registration confusion is taking place at the same time that government is considering what to do with this highly complex scheme. There is talk of a fundamental review, with some organisations calling for the cap-and-trade phase of the scheme, due to start from 2013, to be scrapped.

 

With government looking to simplify the UK climate change policy landscape, I can’t see that CRC will be left unscathed when DECC sets out details of the future of climate change policy in the ‘autumn’.

 

As for mopping up the organisations that have yet to register ahead of the 30th September deadline, I understand that the EA has an army of people phoning round organisations it believes should be registering. It shows how committed the Agency is to ensuring the scheme starts well. It may be too committed though, as it has phoned organisations that have already registered.

 

A welcome position from the EA is the message, “Do not delay registration even if your information is not fully accurate. We urge all organisations to register as soon as possible before the 30th September. We will work with you to resolve any errors in the information you supply.”

 

A word of warning, is that a number of registrants have lost the information they have entered due to not using the “save” button in the registration process. The Agency is advising that you regularly save your registration as you go through it. The registration is saved on the system for 30 days from when you last saved it.

 

One thing is for sure, this is not the last word on both registration and significant policy reform.

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Disclaimer
This is an informal blog about health, safety and environmental issues written by EEF's policy, representation and service delivery staff. While it is written from an EEF perspective, contributions should not be taken as formal statements of EEF policy, unless stated otherwise. Nor does it cover all the issues on which we campaign - you can check these out in more detail at our main site.

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About EEF

This blog is written by experts from the health, safety and environment team at EEF. We help manufacturing businesses evolve and compete.  We provide them with business services that make them more efficient and management intelligence that helps them plan.  Our work with government encourages policies that make it easy for them to operate, innovate and grow.

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