Archives

Good Intentions, Bad Outcomes – Introducing Non-Native Species Into the UK

A recent prosecution has illustrated the consequences of releasing non-native species into UK habitats, notwithstanding that the motivation of the two defendants was entirely benevolent. Section 14 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 makes it an offence to release or allow to escape into the wild any animal of a kind which is not … Continue Reading

Enforcement of UK Waste Exemptions – No Longer the Light Touch?

Registered waste exemptions are not to be treated lightly and compliance with their conditions is not flexible, as the Environment Agency has reinforced in a recent case.  A lengthy investigation culminating in a nearly £20,000 fine has been handed down by Chelmsford Magistrates Court in relation to illegal deposits of waste on farmland in Essex. … Continue Reading

Increased Risk of Clean-Up Liability for Owners of Closed Council Landfill Sites in England and Wales

A recent Court of Appeal case, Powys County Council v Price and Hardwick, has addressed the issue of liability of successor public authorities under the UK contaminated land regime (Part 2A Environmental Protection Act 1990) (“Part 2A”). The case related to a landfill site that had been operated by local authorities of the county of … Continue Reading

Product Recalls vs Withdrawal From Sale: The Current UK Position

On 14 June 2017, forty fire engines and more than 200 firefighters were required to tackle an inferno that destroyed 151 homes, and killed scores of people at Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey block of public housing flats in West London.  The source of the Grenfell Tower fire has recently been identified as a fridge freezer.  The Metropolitan Police has stated that … Continue Reading

The Impact of New and Developing Technologies on UK Environmental, Safety and Health Compliance

Technology can offer new business opportunities and efficiencies to businesses. However, it can also present new and on-going challenges to the regulation and control of health, safety and environmental issues (and ultimately the potential liability of any business exploiting new technology). One of the ‘key points’ of the Health and Safety Executive Strategy 2016 was … Continue Reading

UK Regulator Growth Duty – A New Era in Decision Making?

The economic growth duty came into force on 29 March 2017 under the Deregulation Act 2015 (the “DA 2015”) and requires many regulators in England and Wales to have regard to the “desirability of promoting economic growth”, alongside the delivery of protections set out in relevant legislation. The regulators to which it applies are set … Continue Reading

Health and Safety Sentencing in the UK: A Border Divide?

The Definitive Guideline for Health and Safety Offences, which came into force on 1 February 2016 (2015 Guideline), must be applied when sentencing cases in England and Wales. Being separate and distinct legal jurisdictions, the courts of Scotland and Northern Ireland are not bound to follow the 2015 Guideline. Historically, Scottish courts have still recognised … Continue Reading

UK Government Issues Guidance on Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards for Leased Property

Beginning 1 April 2018, under the Energy Efficiency (Private Rented Property) (England and Wales) Regulations 2015 (commonly referred to as the MEES Regulations), non-domestic landlords must ensure that any properties they rent out in England and Wales have an energy efficient rating of at least an E (using the A-G rating system from Energy Performance Certificates … Continue Reading

UK Green Paper on Industrial Strategy: Environment Safety and Health Implications

The UK Government has published a Green Paper on Industrial Strategy, which identifies a number of challenges over the coming years, including: building on existing strengths and extending excellence into the future (with reference to the UK’s global reputation in industrial sectors – from automotive and aerospace to financial and professional services and the creative … Continue Reading

Successor Local Authorities May Be Liable Under the UK Contaminated Land Regime

The recent decision of the High Court in Price and Hardwicke v Powys County Council determined that a local authority may acquire potential liability under the contaminated land regime (“CLR”) from its statutory predecessor, notwithstanding that the CLR did not enter into force until over 5 years after the transfer of liabilities took place.… Continue Reading

UK Environmental Audit Committee Calls For Brexit Environmental Protection Law

The UK Environmental Audit Committee (a cross-party parliamentary select committee which considers how well government policies and programmes contribute to environmental protection and sustainable development) has published its report on “The Future of the Natural Environment after the EU Referendum”.  The report makes a series of recommendations for actions that the Government should take during … Continue Reading

Launch of UK “Food Crime Confidential” Whistleblower Facility Is Reminder to Food Businesses to Ensure Integrity of Supply Chains

On 28 November 2016, the National Food Crime Unit launched ‘Food Crime Confidential’, which is a phone and email reporting or ‘whistleblowing’ facility. Anyone can use the service, but it is targeted mainly at those working in or around the food industry, to allow them to report suspicions in confidence. Food Crime is defined by … Continue Reading

What Duties Does a UK Employer Have in the Age of Rising Suicides?

In 2012, the UK Government published a strategy entitled “Preventing Suicide in England: A cross-governmental outcomes strategy to save lives”, and two further updates were published in 2014 and 2015.  In 2016, an inquiry was launched by England’s Health Committee to tackle an 8% increase in the suicide rate.  The issue of suicide is important to … Continue Reading

Piercing the Corporate Veil Following Breaches of UK Environmental Permits

The recent Court of Appeal decision in R v Powell and Westwood contains an interesting insight into the extent to which company directors may find themselves personally liable for the cost of remediating contamination which has been caused or knowingly permitted by the companies that they control. It has confirmed that the corporate veil should … Continue Reading

UK Chemicals Regulation Post-Brexit

The British exit from the European Union (Brexit) could significantly impact chemical companies operating within the United Kingdom (UK), depending on the regulatory decisions made by the government.  Post-Brexit, REACH, the European Union’s chemicals regulatory scheme will no longer apply to the UK.  Upon exiting REACH, UK companies exporting to Europe could face substantial extra … Continue Reading

Implications Of The Brexit Vote On UK Environmental Law And Policy

Following a referendum which has polarised the nation, the people of the UK have voted to leave the European Union. Stepping away from the political rhetoric and posturing, it is worth reflecting on some of the more practical issues which will arise from this decision, such as how it could affect our environmental law landscape. … Continue Reading

When Allergens Go Wrong: UK Potential Penalties For Food Adulteration And Breach Of Food Information And Safety Laws

Penalties imposed by the courts in relation to the adulteration of food can be serious. The Guardian and other papers in the UK reported recently that an Indian restaurant owner has been imprisoned for manslaughter following the death of a customer who suffered an allergic reaction (a severe anaphylactic shock) in January 2014 after eating … Continue Reading

Taking The Field – Obligations On Employers Under The New UK Control Of Electromagnetic Fields At Work Regulations 2016

From next month, employers will be required to consider specifically the risks posed to their employees by electromagnetic fields (EMFs). What are EMFs? EMFs occur wherever a piece of electrical or electronic equipment is used, from an electric kettle or lap top computer through to an MRI scanner or satellite dish.  EMFs are likely, therefore, … Continue Reading

UK Fracking – Picking Up Energy or Still on Go Slow?

On 11 April 2016, the Environment Agency granted the necessary environmental permits to allow the UK-based company Third Energy UK Limited to carry out hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking” as it has become known, for shale gas at the so-called KM8 Well, an existing borehole in North Yorkshire.  Despite opposition, the Environment Agency maintains that the … Continue Reading

EU CLP Regulation Implementation – what has happened since June 2015?

The latest edition of the British Safety Council’s magazine, Safety Management, features an update article by Anita Lloyd on the implementation of the EU Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) regime for chemicals. June 2015 was the deadline for implementation of EU Regulation 1272/2008 on the Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Substances and Mixtures (CLP). Companies in … Continue Reading

UK Sentencing Council: Further Consultation On New Guidelines for Guilty Plea Credit

In the wake of the UK’s more prescriptive approach towards sentencing adopted in the recent Definitive Sentencing Guidelines which came into force on 1 February 2016, the UK Sentencing Council has now turned its focus to the guidelines regarding the credit available for the entering of a guilty plea in criminal cases. The Sentencing Council … Continue Reading
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