Environment calendar – November 2006

United Kingdom

The environment calendar highlights key dates for proposed and existing legislation and policy and closing dates for consultation papers relating to major environment issues in the EU and England.

It will provide a useful tool for environment managers tracking new legislation for the purpose of implementing an environment management system such as ISO 14001 or EMAS.

It will also be helpful for those in environment technologies industries seeking new opportunities by highlighting upcoming legislation.

Key developments and dates this month include:

  • DEFRA launched a consultation on the new Waste Framework Directive on 27th October 2006. It does not, however, include revisions by the European Parliament and Council of Ministers which are currently being negotiated. Much of the debate centres over the EU’s waste hierarchy. All comments and views on the consultation document should be submitted to DEFRA by 5 January 2007.
  • October was quite a month for climate change discussion and announcements. Press coverage over “green taxation” culminated on 30 October in the release of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change and a Government commitment to new legislation to deal with climate change. The new legislation is not imminent – there will be widespread consultation and it will be introduced “when parliamentary time allows.” In addition, the Government released a “Vision Statement” on the future of the EU ETS suggesting strongly that emissions trading is its preferred instrument for pricing carbon. These developments send a strong message that “Business as Usual” will no longer be an option for the UK.
  • Indications from DEFRA are that the first consultation on the Environmental Liability Directive will take place in November.
  • The REACH chemical regulation is still under debate in the European Parliament. Compromise talks took place in October, however, no agreement was reached and MEPs and the European Parliament continue to disagree over the authorisations process. The Finnish Presidency is committed to finalising REACH before the year-end, however, it seems increasingly likely that the conciliation process will take place which will ultimately delay the process.
  • The DTI WEEE consultation closed on 17th October. This consultation was the final stage in the process before regulations implementing the WEEE directive are introduced. Regulations are still expected to be introduced late December 2006 to come into effect in January 2007.
  • On October 2006 the government announced plans for the long term management of higher activity radioactive waste. This waste includes waste from nuclear, medical, military and academic institutions. The plans mean placing this type of waste in deep underground facilities where natural geological structures will prevent the escape of radiation.
  • The Companies Bill continues to be amended and on 23rd October 2006 it reached the House of Lords where it was changed further. Discussions about environmental provisions to be required in Director’s report are ongoing with the current proposal being a requirement that the report contains information detailing the impact of the business on the environment. The Bill is due to receive Royal assent shortly although most of provisions are not expected to come into force until October 2008.