New and Forthcoming Legislation

EU Batteries Directive - now in force

Stricter rules on manufacturing and recycling batteries and accumulators (rechargeable batteries) for UK businesses have been introduced through the implementation of the European Batteries Directive.

The new legal obligations have been split into two parts:

  • Requirements on collecting, treating and recycling waste batteries and accumulators, through the Waste Batteries and Accumulators Regulations 2009. These rules came into force on 5 May 2009, and producers now have to pay for the collection, treatment and recycling of batteries, since 1 January 2010.
  • Requirements on battery labelling and design through the Batteries and Accumulators (Placing on the Market) Regulations 2008 SI 2164. These rules are now in force.

Who do the battery recycling regulations affect?

The regulations affect any business that uses, produces, supplies, or disposes of batteries, as well as any business that manufactures or designs battery-powered products.

Hazardous waste regulations

The Hazardous Waste (England and Wales)(Amendment) Regulations 2009 SI 507 came into force in England on 6 April 2009.

The Hazardous Waste (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2009 SI 2861 came into force in Wales on 18 November 2009.

What are the main changes to the hazardous waste regulations?

  • If you produce less than 500kg of hazardous waste in any year you do not have to register with the Environment Agency. This limit was previously 200kg.
  • If you are a contractor dealing with asbestos waste from domestic premises, the regulations affect you, but not the occupier.

Who do the changes affect?

If you produce, move, receive or dispose of hazardous waste in England or Wales these changes are likely to affect you.

CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC)

The CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (CRC), formerly the carbon reduction commitment, is designed to promote energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions in the UK. It started on 1 April 2010.

The scheme will be enforced by your environmental regulator: the Environment Agency in England and Wales, the Department of the Environment in Northern Ireland and SEPA in Scotland.

The Environment Agency is responsible for managing an online registry for the scheme and administering the sale of carbon allowances for the whole of the UK.

The CRC will affect mainly large private and public sector organisations.

The CRC targets emissions not already covered by Climate Change Agreements (CCAs) or the EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS).

You are likely to be covered by the CRC if your organisation's electricity is metered by at least one half hourly meter (HHM) and you buy on the half hourly market. Your electricity supplier can tell you if you buy electricity on the half hourly market.

The main criteria for an organisation's participation in the CRC is that its total supply of half hourly metered electricity in 2008 was at least 6,000 megawatt-hours (MWh).

If your half hourly metered electricity supply was below 6,000MWh in 2008 it is likely you will have to make an 'information disclosure' about your electricity supplies.

Sole traders and individuals, who are considered to be small emitters, are excluded from the CRC.

Is your business exempt from the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme?

There will be no overlap with existing schemes. If, for example, your emissions are covered by a climate change agreement (CCA) you may claim exemption from the CRC. You will still need to register with the CRC and then apply for an exemption.

When the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme starts

If your business falls within the CRC, you will have to:

  • Register as a participant in the scheme or provide details of your energy use using the online registry between 1 April 2010 and 30 September 2010.
  • Measure and record your business' energy use (ie electricity, gas, fuel oil, coal, liquefied petroleum gas etc) and calculate your carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions annually.
  • Buy allowances corresponding to your emissions from energy use, surrender allowances equivalent to your energy use at the end of the year, and trade allowances with other businesses if you have bought too many or too few allowances.
  • Submit an annual report on your emissions.
  • Submit a footprint report online.
  • Surrender allowances equivalent to your emissions.
Handling, transfer and transport of waste

The government has held several consultations on the new regulations dealing with the handling, transfer and transport of waste.

The government now proposes to bring into force two new sets of regulations in England and Wales in 2010.

What are the waste controls regulations?

The details of these draft regulations are not yet available but they are likely to be:

  1. Regulations to deal with waste carrier and broker registration.

    These will:

    • Simplify the existing waste carrier regulations and make them more effective.
    • Require waste brokers and dealers to register with the Environment Agency.
    • Set out requirements for transfer notes.
    • Increase the maximum level of fines and make more use of fixed penalty notices in enforcing the regulations.
  2. Regulations to control the stop, search and seizure of vehicles as part of the waste controls enforcement regime.

    These will:

    • Streamline the procedures for seizing and disposing of any vehicle used in an illegal waste operation.
    • Tighten up procedures for tracing the registered keeper of any vehicle used in an illegal waste operation.

When will the waste controls regulations come in to force?

Draft regulations dealing with seizure of vehicles, to be called the Control of Waste (Authority to Transport Waste and Deal with Seized Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2010, are to be published shortly and to come into force on 6 April 2010.

The regulations dealing with waste carrier/broker registration are likely to come into force in late 2010.

Who will the new waste controls regulations affect?

The proposals will affect businesses that:

  • Produce waste.
  • Import waste.
  • Carry or transport waste.
  • Keep or store waste.
  • Treat waste.
  • Dispose of waste.
  • Operate as waste brokers or dealers.

This means that the proposals will affect most businesses. In particular, they will affect the waste management industry and farmers.