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Latest Environmental News

2015 Revision of ISO14001 Environmental Management Standard - Are You Ready?

ISO14001 is currently undergoing substantial revision as part of the five-yearly review of all such Management Standards. The revised standard is due to be published by the end of 2015 and makes some significant revisions to the requirements on organisations with respect to managing their environmental aspects.

Organizations will granted a three-year transition period, after the revision has been published, to modify their environmental management system to the new edition of the standard. After the transition period, companies with external or third party certification will need to seek certification to the new version of the standard.

This ISO14001:2015 briefing note will help you to prepare your organisation for the revisions that are planned.

Aecos Environmental gains ISO14001 accreditation for Mersey Care NHS Trust

Specialist environmental consultancy Aecos Environmental has helped Mersey Care NHS Trust to gain accreditation to ISO 14001 for implementing effective environmental management practices on its Maghull site. This was gained in a record 5 months as a result of the comprehensive consultancy support provided by Aecos.

The Trust was awarded the accreditation for its environmental management system following a 4 day audit by external assessors BSi. In order to meet the exacting requirements of the International Standard the Trust had to demonstrate that staff were sufficiently trained in areas such as hazardous waste management and were aware of the environmental impacts of their day to day activities. In addition, environmental targets have been established in priority areas such as carbon management, waste reduction, travel and sustainable estate management and procurement.

New Rules on Waste Transfer Notes

From 28 September 2011, you must declare on your waste transfer note or hazardous waste consignment note that you have applied the waste management hierarchy. You should check that your waste carrier has implemented these changes on the notes he provides to you.

Application of the waste hierarchy in waste management can help you to choose the least environmentally damaging option and is summarised as:

Prevent - the most cost-effective option is to cut the amount of waste you produce in the first place.

Prepare for reuse - products and materials can be reused by your own business or another organisation.

Recycle - this ensures that benefit is still gained from goods and materials that have reached the end of their useful life.

Other recovery - some facilities use waste to generate energy or produce biofuel.

Dispose - the least sustainable option is to bury waste at landfill sites or burn it without recovering energy, as these do not lead to any benefit from the waste.

6 June 2011 - Updated PPG22 on Spills Published

If you store or transport potentially polluting materials the updated pollution prevention guideline (PPG22) will help you prepare for and deal with spills and prevent pollution arising from them.

Ensure that you have absorbent materials - such as sand and other containment equipment - suitable for the type and quantity of chemicals you store and use on your site. Keep them close to where you might need them, particularly in delivery areas. Make sure that your staff know where they are and how to use them. You can buy spill kits containing all the appropriate spill equipment for the chemicals you store. Try to prevent liquid spills from entering drains, surface waters or groundwater. For example, use earth to block the flow of large spills, or use sand or a commercial spill kit to soak them up. You should never hose down a spill, as you could cause a much worse pollution incident. If you store chemicals in a vehicle, you should also carry a spill kit suitable for the quantity and type of chemicals you have.

The updated guidance can be downloaded here: http://publications.environment-agency.gov.uk/PDF/PMHO0411BTEZ-E-E.pdf

10 May 2011 - Changes to Waste Carrier Registration

Anyone who collects and transports your waste must be either a registered carrier of controlled waste or exempt from registration. Businesses must check that your waste carrier is registered or exempt. You need to keep evidence of this so you can prove you have checked if necessary.

On 29 March 2011 new regulations introduced a two-tier registration system for waste carriers, brokers and dealers. If your waste carrier is in the upper tier, or if they were registered as a waste carrier before 29 March 2011, they will have a certificate of registration which will show when their registration expires. If your waste carrier is in the lower tier, they will have a letter confirming their registration. If they were registered before 29 March 2011, they will be on a register of professional collectors and transporters.

You can currently take your own business waste, other than construction or demolition waste, directly to an authorised waste management site or recycling facility without registering as a waste carrier. However, from the end of December 2013 you will have to register with the Environment Agency as a lower tier waste carrier if you normally and regularly carry your own business waste. If you transport your own construction or demolition waste, you must register as an upper tier waste carrier with the Environment Agency, unless you fall into one of the categories for lower tier waste carriers.

11th April 2011 - Waste (England & Wales) Regulations 2011

The long-awaited revised EU Waste Framework Directive 2008/98 has finally been implemented into UK legislation by the Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2011, which came into force on 29 March 2011. In summary the Regulations will affect all businesses that deal with waste:

• They require businesses to confirm that they have applied the waste management hierarchy when transferring waste, and include a declaration on their waste transfer note or consignment note

• They introduce a two-tier system for waste carrier and broker registration, including a new concept of a waste dealer

• They make amendments to hazardous waste controls and introduce a new category of ‘sensitising’. This means that some non-hazardous waste may be need to be re-classified as hazardous waste

• They exclude some categories of waste from waste controls - waste controls no longer apply to activities dealing only with excluded wastes. For example, land spreading animal by-products. Businesses should check the full list to see whether their waste activity is exempt.

• Finally, from 1 January 2015, the regulations require the separate collection of waste paper, metal, plastic and glass

Full text of regulations can be found at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2011/9780111506462/contents

25th February 2011 - Are Waste LED's Hazardous?

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are an energy efficient and mercury-free source of lighting, but like other electronic goods they could have some negative environmental impacts, according to research. A US study tested a selection of LEDs and found that they could be classified as hazardous waste owing to levels of lead, copper, nickel and silver. Their use of rare earth metals could also increase pressure on natural resources.

The report of the study is available here: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/archive/waste_11.htm

4th February 2011 - Green Claims Guidance for Businesses

A Green Claims Guide published by Defra helps companies describe the environmental credentials of their products in a way that consumers will find easier to understand and allow them to make more informed judgements about what they buy. The aim is to prevent misleading claims and encourage the development of greener products.

Businesses are encouraged to follow three key ‘steps’ in order to build consumer confidence in the environmental attributes of their products:

  • Ensure the content of the claim is relevant and reflects a genuine benefit to the environment;
  • Present the claim clearly and accurately; and
  • Ensure the claim can be substantiated.

The Guidance is designed as a proactive toolkit – using principles and practical examples to help businesses get their green claims right. The Guide is available at: Defra Green Claims Guide

2nd February 2011 - Online Environmental Compliance Tool Launched

Business Link, in conjunction with NetRegs, has launched an online compliance tool for small businesses to assess whether equipment complies with environmental legislation. Questions are asked regarding WEEE, batteries, end-of-life vehicles, and air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. This then provides information on which permits, licences and exemptions are needed for compliance.

The tool is available at: Business Link Compliance Tool

31st January 2011 - New Environmental Permitting Guidance on Water Discharge

Defra has published new environmental permitting guidance for both water discharge and groundwater activities. The new guidance follows the introduction of the Environmental Permitting (England & Wales) Regulations 2010 which replaced parts of the Water Resources Act 1991 and the Groundwater Regulations 2009. The Guidance can be found at:


30th November 2010 – Reporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions Benefits Business

New research by Defra has found that British businesses voluntarily reporting their greenhouse gas emissions experience benefits such as cost savings, improved green credentials, and better relations with investors and customers.

Businesses who participated in the research said that the emission reports triggered board level interest in environmental issues and drove environmental behaviour change across the organisation, which had beneficial results for the company. Emission reports were found to have a particularly important part to play in communications to investors by helping to demonstrate the businesses’ environmental credentials and encourage investment.

25th November 2010 - 20% Increase in Use of Formal Environmental Management Systems

Research by the Institute of Environmental Management andAssessment (IEMA) shows a 28% increase over the last 2 years in the use of formal environmental management systems by organisations in the UK.

Figures collected by IEMA shows that the number of UKAS accredited ISO14001 certificates in the UK have risen significantly in the last two years, with over 8500 certificates now issued representing an increase of 28% on figures from IEMA’s research in 2008.

Martin Baxter, IEMA’s Executive Director – Policy, said: “These figures show that many organisations have identified the wider value of environmental management systems and the role they can play in developing a competitive advantage in meeting the challenges of the low carbon economy."

Such positive figures in the context of the challenging economic conditions of the last two years indicate that many businesses are recognising the wider benefits of adopting the standard beyond improved environmental performance, identifying economic benefits in areas such as reduced energy consumption and improved resource efficiency.

12th November 2010 - Eco Design of Energy Related Products

The Eco-Design Directive (2009/125/EC) has been transposed in the UK by the Eco-Design for Energy-Related Products Regulations 2010 (SI 2010 No.2617). It aims to improve the environmental performance of products throughout the life-cycle, by integration of environmental aspects at a very early stage in product design.

24 September 2010 - Updated Pollution Prevention Guidance from the EA on Bulk Containers

The Environment Agency is currently updating the Pollution Prevention Guidance (PPG) Note 'Storage and handling of drums and intermediate bulk containers'. The revised guidance will include new legislation and updated good practice.

More information at: https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/ho/green/spills

24 September 2010 - 1 million tonnes of waste prevented by UK Grocery Sector

WRAP has announced the results of the first phase of the Courtauld Commitment which show that a total of 670,000 tonnes of food waste and 520,000 tonnes of packaging have been avoided within the UK between 2005 and 2009. The Courtauld Commitment is a responsibility deal between the UK grocery sector and WRAP and delivered in partnership with local authorities.

More information at: http://www.wrap.org.uk/media_centre/press_releases/one_million_tonnes.html

20 September 2010 - Deadline for CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme Registration Looms

Obligated businesses have until 30 September 2010 to register with the mandatory scheme. The CRC mainly affects large private and public sector organisations. 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. The Environment Agency has written to all UK organisations they believe have an obligation under the CRC. If you have not received a letter but think you should have you can email CRC help.

2 September 2010 - Re-Think Waste Initiative for Manufacturers

WRAP, in association with the EEF, has launched a free on-line resource efficiency initiative to help manufacturers reduce waste, improve resource efficiency and save money. They claim that savings of up to £1000 per employee can be made. The programme will run from September to November and deadline for registration is 27th September.

More information at: http://www.wrap.org.uk/business/sme/rethink_waste/

27 August 2010 - New Guidance on Spillage Management in Transport, Logistics & Distribution Industry

The Environment Agency together with the British Safety Industry Federation (BSIF) have produced a report into spillage management and prevention in the transport, logistics and distribution industry, following a survey of senior managers in the sector in 2009.

More information at: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/news/97266.aspx

20 August 2010 - Government Plans to Work with Business to Reduce Waste

Environment Minister Lord Henley announced today that the Government wishes to work with businesses to help them reduce their waste and increase recycling through voluntary responsibility deals. Working with businesses to put in place voluntary responsibility deals on waste will remove the need for further regulation and will lead to less waste and more recycling with the added benefits of businesses saving money and helping to protect the environment.

More information at: http://ww2.defra.gov.uk/2010/08/16/business-waste/

13 August 2010 - EA – New Regulatory Enforcement Powers on Waste Producing Businesses

The Environment Agency (EA) is introducing new enforcement powers later this year which will affect all waste producing, managing or carrying businesses. The Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Act 2008 (the RES Act) introduced a new range of alternative civil (rather than criminal court) sanctions to provide the EA with a wider range of options to better protect the environment while demonstrating a more responsive approach to working with businesses. The regime is designed to offer a more flexible approach, which not only allows the EA to vary the penalty according to the offence but also allows offenders to be proactive in offering remediation and compensation solutions.

The roll-out of the new regime will initially be in two stages. Hazardous waste management, Producer Responsibility and international waste shipments will be covered in the first stage, which will come into effect by the end of 2010, and the regime is likely to be expanded in 2011 to cover Environmental Permits and possibly waste-related Duty of Care.

More information at: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/regulation/116844.aspx

30 July 2010 - EA launches Clinical Waste Guidance for Environmental Permit holders

The Environment Agency has launched a guide to clinical waste management for operations governed under the Environmental Permitting Regulations. It sets out the standards and measures for the management of clinical wastes. In most cases these are required to meet both the requirements of the Waste Framework Directive and represent indicative Best Available Techniques (BAT).

Further information at: http://publications.environment-agency.gov.uk/pdf/GEHO0710BVSI-e-e.pdf

9 July 2010 - European Parliament approves Industrial Emissions Directive

The European Parliament has endorsed a new directive strengthening pollution limits that industrial installations will have to comply with. The endorsement of the new Industrial Emissions Directive brings to an end a long battle between industry, which warned of competitiveness losses, and environmentalists who argue that cleaning Europe's industry is a prerequisite for sustainable production.

25 June 2010 - European Retailers Deliver Green Code of Conduct

European business leaders today delivered a voluntary environmental code of conduct for the retail sector. Retailers signing up to the code commit to a set of principles and measures aimed at reducing their environmental footprint. The Retail Environmental Sustainability Code was presented to EU Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik at an event to mark the first anniversary of the Retail Forum. The Forum was set up last year by the European Commission and the European retail sector as part of their drive to promote more environmentally sustainable consumption patterns.

In its first year the Forum has tackled a number of key issues such as energy efficiency, transport and logistics, and communication and marketing. A number of papers providing proposals for action and highlighting examples of good practice by the retail sector are available on the Forum's website: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/industry/retail/index_en.htm

4 June 2010 - New Business Secretary Announces Action Plan to Reduce Regulations for Businesses

Business Secretary Vince Cable today announced an action plan to bring an end to the excessive regulation that is stifling business growth.

The action plan creates a new Cabinet “Star Chamber” that will lead the Government’s drive to reduce regulation which is stifling growth, especially of small businesses. This Reducing Regulation Committee will be chaired by the Business Secretary and will enforce a new approach to new laws and regulations, ensuring that their costs are being properly addressed across the entire British economy.

An immediate review will take place of all regulation in the pipeline for implementation which has been inherited from the last Government, the cost of implementing which amounts to £5bn annually.

2 June 2010 - Renewable Energy Guide for Businesses

Environmental legislation website Net Regs has produced an on-line guide for businesses on renewable energy generation. Investing in wind, solar or hydropower will shrink a company's carbon footprint and could provide a good return on investment through cost savings and energy tariffs.

For more information visit: http://www.netregs.gov.uk/netregs/

25 May 2010 - Energy Bill Announced in Queen's Speech

Legislation will be introduced to improve energy efficiency in British homes and businesses, to promote low carbon energy production, and to secure energy supplies. The Bill is to provide a step change in the provision of energy efficiency measures to homes and businesses, and to put in place a framework to deliver a future with secure, low carbon energy supplies and fair competition in the energy markets.

For more information visit: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn10_063/pn10_063.aspx

21 May 2010 - HSE Inspections in the Waste and Recycling Industry in 2010/11

HSE alerts inspectors to a planned inspection campaign within the waste and recycling industry during 20010/11. Inspections should be targeted at skip-hire operations and associated recycling activities, particularly those where hand sorting of recyclables ('totting') takes place, and has specific emphasis on management of workplace transport risks.

For more information see: http://news.hse.gov.uk/

14 May 2010 - REACH UPDATE, ECHA publishes new guidance on waste and recovered substances

This new guidance is for companies who recycle and recover. Recycled or recovered chemical substances do not necessarily need to be registered under REACH. The guidance provides advice on the obligations under REACH and clarifies the criteria that need to be met in order for companies to benefit from that exemption. Companies who do not fulfil these obligations will have to register their recycled or recovered chemical substances. It also explains their obligation to share information on recycled and recovered substances in the supply chain.

For more information see: http://guidance.echa.europa.eu/docs/guidance_document/waste_recovered_en.pdf

7 May 2010 - O-I Announce Glass Packaging Has Lowest Carbon Footprint

A study, carried out by the world’s largest manufacturer of glass packaging O-I (Owens-Illinois Inc), has found that the lifecycle of a glass container produces the lowest emissions compared to aluminium or plastic packaging.

For more information see: http://www.o-i.com/uploadedFiles/Web_Site/O-I/Newsroom/OI_LCA_031010.pdf

16 April 2010 - Puma Cuts Packaging Waste by Reinventing Shoebox

Redesign of the traditional shoebox by sportswear giant Puma is set to cut paper waste from the packaging by almost two thirds.

Yves Behar, the designer behind the “One Laptop Per Child” campaign, designed a more sustainable solution to the shoebox. The result was what Puma calls ‘Clever Little Bag’ which is more a box-bag hybrid than a simple bag. Basically, the box uses a single sheet of cardboard folded up at the edges and that is inserted into a bag. This gives it a similar structure to a standard shoebox, meaning it can be stacked, shipped and stored without any radical logistical changes. The bag part can also be used to replace the disposable plastic bag that would otherwise be handed out with the shoes at the point of sale, reducing waste again.

24 March 2010 - Extension to Landfill Tax Escalator Announced in Budget

The landfill tax escalator has been extended by a futher year and will now rise to £80/tonne in 2014/15 the Chancellor announced today. He also revealed that the tax would then not fall below £80 after that point; a move which he said would provide "certainty for business investment".

He also stated that the list of wastes which qualify for the lower rate of landfill tax - which he froze at £2.50 per tonne for 2011/12 - would remain "broadly" the same as at present in the wake of last year's consultation on landfill tax reform.

From 1st April 2010 landfill tax will rise to £48/tonne.

16 March 2010 - New Environmental Permitting Regulations 2010

Changes to the Environmental Permitting Regulations 2007 have now been approved by Parliament with effect from 6 April 2010. The Regulations extend the permitting system to seven other areas including water discharge consents, groundwater permits, waste carriers & brokers registrations and radioactive substances authorisations. There are also controversial changes to the system of exemptions which could see small scale composting businesses and previously exempt metals recycling activities adversely affected.

For more information see: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/business/topics/permitting/32320.aspx

3 March 2010 - EA Campaign to Tackle Illegal Scrap Metal Sites

A campaign by the Environment Agency to tackle illegal scrap metal activity in the North West has led to over 20 prosecutions and 18 formal cautions in under two years.

Operation SCRAP (scrap cars require a permit) targeted illegal operators to bring sites into compliance with environmental regulations, or take enforcement action where serious and repeated breaches were found.

Some scrap metal operators, wanting to keep costs low and profits as high as possible, have caused risks to the environment by illegally disposing of oil down drains, and burning waste. They either do not hold a permit to carry out these activities, or are breaching the conditions laid down by the Environment Agency.

1 March 2010 - Envirowise Launch Cost Saving Tool for Businesses

Envirowise has launched a new, online, multimedia tool to help businesses identify potential cost saving measures, which also improve resource efficiency and reduce environmental impact. The virtual tour, called 'Green Street' is available at: http://www.envirowise.gov.uk/uk/Our-Services/Tools/Green-Street.html

16 February 2010 - Battery Recycling Bins Now in Stores

Regulations covering the collection, recycling and reprocessing of portable batteries came into force on 1 February 2010.

Members of the public can return waste batteries to any shop that sells portable batteries, except small retailers who sell less than 32 kg of batteries per year and who are not required to take back batteries.  Many local councils will also have collection points for waste batteries at civic amenity sites and recycling centres.

If your business uses portable batteries your supplier will operate a take back scheme unless they sell less than 32kg of batteries per year. You should check with your supplier to find out their arrangements for the collection of waste portable batteries.

Mixed waste batteries and certain types of batteries are classed as hazardous/special waste.  This means waste batteries can only be transported to sites that have the appropriate environmental permit, waste management licence or exemption from an environmental regulator.  Businesses must ensure that a hazardous waste consignment note is completed prior to moving any waste batteries produced on the premises.

More information on what to do with waste batteries at: http://www.netregs.gov.uk/

1st February 2010 - Hazardous Waste Producers Can Now Register Online

It is now possible to register or renew as a hazardous waste producer on-line at the Environment Agency website.  Businesses need to register their premises if they produce more than 500kg of hazardous waste per year. 

More information available at:

22nd January 2010 - RoHS Regulations – Government Guidance Notes Published

Explanatory guidance has been published to assist those placing electrical and electronic equipment on the UK market to comply with The Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment Regulations 2008, as amended (the RoHS Regulations).