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YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Environmental Regulation Update.

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Presentation on theme: "YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Environmental Regulation Update."— Presentation transcript:

1 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Environmental Regulation Update

2 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Janet Murfin’s background Soil science training, chemical industry background (BSc, MSc, CSci, M Inst Soil Sci) Environmental regulatory and technical consultancy PPC experience from keeping sites out of regulations, helping them go into Low Impact regulations, full PPC applications and Site Reports, through to Surrender Site Reports and decommissioning advice Just finished environmental aspects of COMAH Top Tier safety report; other industrial environmental services eg waste minimisation club; contaminated land on working sites, ADMS and odour Set up and run own business from scratch, used to looking at regulatory impact holistically in business terms

3 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 What’s presentation about? This isn’t about a list of forthcoming environmental regulations and what they contain We all know that there’s too much, it takes too long to interpret, it’s too complicated This is about the bigger picture on environmental regulation – how it works at the moment; what that means for our working lives; and how we can make changes to make the regs BETTER Particularly relevant to REACh

4 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Contents (Examples based on my experiences of PPC) How regulations are made in the UK Consistency of EU regulations across Europe Consistency of interpretation/ application within the England & Wales Getting changes made, and why A few thoughts on REACh

5 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 How regulations made in UK EU Directive UK parliament Enabling legislation Statutory Instruments/ Regulations Guidance on interpretation of the regulations (can be mountains of paperwork) Committees of senior civil servants and EU politicians, some tech. input Very limited debate in parliament SI’s are meat of proposal, often very widely drawn Guidance needed to interpret – often outsourced to large consultancies

6 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Consistency of EU regulation Hot topic! Not every country implements every law, if they have existing coverage (except UK?) PPC permit in UK vs Germany Cost of PPC permit in France On balance, every country complains about PPC, but we probably have biggest paperwork burden

7 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 The biggest influence on how eg PPC regulations are interpreted is the technical guidance issued by EA This has cut out a lot of the individualistic interpretation on the major issues eg IPC But the most important influence is your individual relationship with your Inspector Not all inspectors are the same (EA and HSE both) Consistency of application of regulations

8 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Confident inspector – technical background, industry experience, able to make logical decisions on environmental risk, brings in specialists when needed Unconfident inspector – inappropriate/ little technical background, less “real world” experience, refers back to paperwork all the time, afraid to ask for specialist help Differences between Inspectors

9 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 A confident inspector is able to make pragmatic decisions on environmental risk: they can appreciate when something is low risk/ negligible, and tell you that it’s not important (it helps to confirm this via email though) An unconfident inspector is worried about everything – they don’t have the confidence to dismiss low risks, so you end up having to spend a lot of time and money looking at unimportant issues For the unconfident, one man’s “proportionate regulation” is another man’s “turning a blind eye” How it affects us

10 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 The way to keep your inspector happy is to be OPEN Discuss any changes to your permitted application (or monitoring programme) beforehand, get their approval Keep them involved, and use their expertise Make a structured, logical case for why you think something should happen (especially if you think their interpretation is wrong) Dealing with a confident inspector

11 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Get everything in writing, ideally at the time of a meeting –Unconfident inspectors often change their mind after a meeting on site, once they’ve had a chance to re-read the guidance –This can be very frustrating for businesses who think they have agreed a course of action, only to find it has become much more complex and expensive Dealing with an unconfident inspector (1)

12 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Make your case logically – insist that they make their case logically too Don’t let them use “because I say so”, and ask for copies of documents they refer to Ask for specialist technical help on-site or off- site if you feel it’s needed If you have the contacts, discuss issues informally with another inspector Where in place, use the Sector Co-ordinator, as they see many businesses and have a wider perspective Dealing with an unconfident inspector (2)

13 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Wrong technical background –Some rural areas with limited number of industrial specialists are using “frogs and logs” people for PPC permit holders Personal lack of confidence –Depends on the individual, can also affect ex- industry people when new to the EA (new boy syndrome) Fuller explanations required for the unconfident Reasons for unconfident inspectors

14 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Very patchy at ground level Inspector has a big say in important issues (partly because of complexity of regulations) Regional variations also exist, in my experience, although that can be down to different budgets/ recruitment policies EA/HSE could do better – we need to give feedback (our feedback in industry/ consultancy is no money/ no repeat business!) Consistency of application?

15 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Getting changes made EU Directive UK parliament Enabling legislation Statutory Instruments/ Regulations Guidance on interpretation of the regulations (can be mountains of paperwork) Big consultancies, govt departments, specialist individuals Not much point – enabling legislation is a “shell” SI changes – get in early first time round; or later changes Guidance needed to interpret – often outsourced to large consultancies

16 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 EU have announced their intention to stop churning out directives, and look at effects of existing ones (but have you seen the size of the directive pipeline?) UK – various red tape initiatives at sub- cabinet level, including Better Regulation Executive Mechanism to amend SIs and guidance in place and working Change is happening already

17 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Amendment SIs at 2 or 3 per year since 2000 Have listened to industry – eg Low Impact guidelines are much improved, includes more sites Consultations via EA website (a bit of a pain to look at regularly); but they don’t always acknowledge your submissions Also DEFRA consultations via their website Examples of change - PPC

18 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 These people are desperate for information, but are far removed from the sharp end, work in a VIP bubble Used to living on the “tax dollar”, and don’t always appreciate the need for a business to be profitable Short-term viewpoint – next funding round, is my committee safe Close to politicians, so tend to think in terms of number of people complaining (aka no of votes) rather than the strength or logic of an argument But it can be worthwhile to speak to them individually Better Regulation Executive (1)

19 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Better Regulation Executive (2) Alistair McGlone, our BRE day tripper, with Darrell Nash, Albion Dyestuffs Safety boots!

20 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 It’s easy to be cynical – for example, when the UK Govt decided to look at red tape, they set up a committee and staff it with civil servants… But a few of my reasons are: –get annoyed by injustices compared to other countries –bad science really winds me up –it will save time and money later –someone has to do it, and it might as well be people who know (a bit) what they’re talking about Why bother to get changes made?

21 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Example – the hard way – H8 PPC Surrender Site Reports, consultation closed 1 st October 2004 Submitted 11,000 word document (got a bit grumpy!) Worth it in the end – guidance did not go through (although don’t think it was just me) Feedback on our most recent SSR using our in- house methodology – hydrogeologists thought it was good Getting change can be hard

22 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 REACh

23 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 REACh is the biggest piece of environmental regulation since IPPC It makes IPPC look tiny in comparison The effects will be enormously wide-ranging: not just chemical businesses (reasonably prepared) but every type of manufacturer will be affected (and ultimately every individual in the country) The Law of Unintended Consequences will operate, as usual A few thoughts on REACh

24 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 10 th October – HSE named as UK Competent Authority (about a year late) On same day, yet another disagreement within EU – Environment Committee overrules European Parliament Final EU vote due in November 2006 – will they reach agreement? This is all supposed to be in member states’ law by April/ May 2007 - short timescale Also regulations and guidance needed for UK Current REACh timetable

25 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Nobody knows Based on PPC experience, UK regs may be wider/ more detailed than EU Directive Also may be completely new regulations rather than building on existing law If you meet anybody who thinks they know, keep smiling, and back slowly out of the room… What will UK REACh regulations look like?

26 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 REACh could be based on 3 existing groups of legislation: –NONS (notification of new substance) regulations, or Biocide / Pesticide Directive legislation for existing substance registration –CHIP for MSDS regulation and effects on supply chain However, it could equally be a completely new set of rules superseding old ones REACh and existing regulations

27 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 This is very worrying, as how to interpret the law is now in the detailed regulations and interpretative guidance, not in the enabling legislation The complexity of REACh is staggering – again, difficult to interpret and understand As professionals, we need to be aware of problems/ mistakes/ errors, and be prepared to stand up and be counted Lack of time to implement REACh

28 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Make a list of everything you use now which is a chemical or formulation And I mean EVERYTHING – biocides, cleaning fluids, pesticides, lubricating fluids, welding fluxes, metal dips, solvents, paints, you name it Check with your suppliers that they will support that chemical, and the substance it’s used in, AND THE APPLICATION/ USE needs to be supported May need to get your suppliers to check with their suppliers What to do about REACh now

29 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 The end users of chemicals are underprepared: –metal treatment places, metal bashers using dip pots, specialist fluxes and solders –Food companies – disinfectants (even though biocide are registered, will surfactants be supported?) –Plastic manufacturers – plastic additives, moulding agents –Paper mills – process additives, bleaches etc Not just for the chemical industry

30 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Why are chemicals so important anyway? Apart from usual arguments showing that chemicals give us all a fantastically high standard of living, technology beyond our grandparent’s wildest dreams, secure water and food supplies, the main argument is we can’t read the future– we don’t know what we might need, and we don’t know when we might need it

31 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Potential effects of REACh Limited/ greatly reduced choice of chemicals for formulators and manufacturers Reduced range of products which can be used in EU New diseases happening all the time – bird flu or SARS, anyone We need a biodiversity equivalent – chemodiversity, for health and wealth

32 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Political consensus at EU level keeps changing Likely to be implemented into UK law in a great hurry Flaws in regulations inevitable Long term consequences may be extremely serious We should comment/ make changes where possible REACh Conclusions

33 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 We may have to put up with a tidal wave of EU directives for some time But there is hope in the way the regulators are responding to feedback We can all influence how UK environmental regulation works, to make it better for everybody in the future And if a (then) one-woman band can do it, so can you! Future of Environmental Regulation in the UK

34 YHEEMG, 15 th November 2006 Thank you very much Any questions? Contact tel: 01422 24 22 22 Mobile: 07900 21 21 26 Email:

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