Environment calendar – February 2007

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:

  • On 2 February 2007, the Environment Agency issued new guidance to help business and industry meet the changes to landfill regulations which come into play later this year. The new rules mean that from 30th October 2007, waste must be treated before it is disposed of at a landfill site. At the same time, liquid waste will be banned from any landfill. To explain what needs to be done, the Environment Agency has been working with members of the waste industry and waste producers on the new two-part guidance, Treatment of non hazardous wastes for landfill. Part A explains the requirements of the regulations and part B provides suggested methods from industry on how to deal with certain wastes.
  • On 2 February 2007 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change published its 4th Assessment report. The report looked at the effects of human produced greenhouse gases and concluded that the recent warming of global average temperatures was very likely an effect of human activity. This will be of interest to energy industry participants and other sectors which are currently, or may become subject to carbon emissions reduction measures.

The report also concluded that:

    • a probable rise in globally averaged temperatures from 1.8°C to 4°C by 2090-2099 (compared to globally averaged temperatures in the 1980-1999 period), although these may increase up to 6.4°C by then.
    • a possible rise in sea levels ranging from 18cm to 59cm by the same period compared to the 1980-1999 period, although this projection does not take into account uncertainties linked to climate-carbon cycle feedback and changes in ice sheet flow.
    • other impacts, such as a 90% chance in heat-wave increases and a 60% chance of increases in tropical storm intensity.
  • An Environment Agency consultation on Identifying Areas of Water Stress was launched on the 30th January 2007. The aim of the consultation is to determine whether proposals set out by the agency for determining which areas are most vulnerable, where water abstraction is already close to or above acceptable limits, and along with a growing population and demand for water set to increase, pressures on water resources will multiply, are applicable. Under the proposal, 11 water company areas are identified as "serious" areas of water stress based on current and forecast growth in water demand, forecast population growth and current and forecast water resource availability.