The government provides further details on UK carbon pricing after Brexit.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 14 July 2020, the UK government published the draft Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Order 2020 (the Order), establishing a framework for the potential UK Emissions Trading System (UK ETS). Subsequently, on 21 July 2020, the government published a consultation on the operation of a potential new carbon emissions tax.

The proposals outline the potential new UK system after Brexit, which could be linked to the EU Emissions Trading System

By Paul Davies and Michael Green

On 1 June 2020, the UK’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published proposals outlining a new UK-wide Emissions Trading System (UK ETS) contained within a response document to a consultation conducted in May 2019. The proposals were jointly designed by the UK, Scottish and Welsh governments, and the Northern Irish Executive (together, the government). The government has stated that the proposals are a “crucial step” towards achieving the UK’s net zero carbon emissions target by 2050.

The Bill proposes a post-Brexit system of environmental governance to oversee new powers and regulations in four environmental law areas.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

On 15 October 2019, the UK government published the final draft of Environment Bill 2019–20 (the Bill), which aims to set out the government’s environmental priorities post-Brexit. The Bill covers a broad range of topics ― from air quality to England’s future environmental governance — and gives a legal footing to several policy commitments that the government has made in recent years. This blog post will consider the Bill’s content, and the potential impact that the Bill may have on environmental regulation in England.

Consultation document proposes replacing the European Commission with a new environmental watchdog, among other recommendations.

By Paul A. Davies and Michael D. Green

The UK government has announced a consultation in relation to the proposed new Environmental Principles and Governance Bill, which aims to ensure maintained and strengthened environmental protection following the UK’s exit from the EU. While this particular consultation, which was announced on 10 May, relates to England, the government has indicated that it will “… work closely with devolved administrations on common frameworks”. The government’s intention is to “… ensure we leave our environment in a better state than we inherited it”. The planned publication date for the Bill is this autumn.

The consultation document includes three parts:

  • Part 1 relates to the effect of environmental principles enshrined in both international and EU law, and how England’s statutory framework could incorporate these principles.
  • Part 2 addresses the idea of establishing a new watchdog to hold the government to account in relation to environmental protection.
  • Part 3 explores what the exact function and role of the new watchdog would be, as well as the responsibilities of government and Parliament in developing policy and law, along with the Environment Agency’s and Natural England’s role in implementing such policies.

By Paul Davies and Michael Green

The UK Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) published a Green Paper on 23 January 2017, setting out the building blocks for the UK’s modern industrial strategy. Described by Theresa May as a “critical part” of the plan for post-Brexit Britain, the implementation of this strategy will have important policy ramifications, in particular, for the environment.

Overview of the Green Paper

Key points to note from the Green Paper include:

  • a consultation is launched which invites a review of the costs of achieving the UK’s decarbonisation goals and how to best support business energy efficiency (the consultation will close on 17 April 2017);
  • a review of the case for a new research institution on battery technology, energy storage and grid technology, will be undertaken, and findings will be released in early 2017 and an emissions reductions plan is expected in February 2017;
  • the government’s new approach to industrial strategy based on ten pillars will focus on ensuring that the UK economy benefits from the transition to a low-carbon economy by delivering affordable energy and clean growth; and
  • there will be a focus on improving the UK’s energy, transport, water and flood defence infrastructure.

By Paul Davies, Julia Hatcher and Alice Gunn

Barack Obama signed the bipartisan Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act on 22 June of this year. This Act, which came into immediate effect, amends the core provisions of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), the primary federal law governing chemicals for the first time in 40 years.

The amendments mandate potentially significant actions by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including: risk screening to identify “high-priority” chemicals; risk evaluation of those chemicals; and promulgation of restrictions (including a possible ban) on any chemical deemed to “present an unreasonable risk”. The amendments not only allow states and localities to continue enforcement of their existing chemicals laws, but also grant states some latitude – and, in the event of EPA inaction, wide latitude – to enact new laws.

The TSCA amendments establish a series of ambitious deadlines to implement the measures. Within the first six months, EPA must begin risk evaluations on 10 “high priority” substances. Within the first year, EPA is required to complete several formal rulemakings, including to establish processes for prioritisation of additional chemicals as “high priority”, for risk evaluation and for “resetting” the inventory of chemicals in commerce. Within the following six months, the EPA must work on additional guidance documents, policies and activities, including with respect to the protection of confidential business information (CBI).