However, as we come to the end of this Parliament the Government’s Deregulation Act 2015 (which came into force on 26th March) contains a number of deregulatory anti-environmental policies.
The aim of the Deregulation Act 2015 is to reduce the legislative and regulatory burdens affecting businesses, organisations and individuals, as well as repealing legislation that no longer has practical use. The Act covers a wide range of topics; here is a roundup of the sections that relate to the environment:
- Section 14 Shippers of gas allows third parties to unload combustible gas to offshore installations within Gas Importation and Storage Zones without a licence, providing the installation is maintained by another person with a licence and a controlled place is used to unload gas to the installation.
- Section 15 Suppliers of fuel and fireplaces (England) Amends the Clean Air Act 1993 (smoke control areas) by altering the procedure for declaring fuels as authorised fuels and the procedure for exempting classes of fireplaces. The Secretary of State may authorise fuels and exempt classes of fireplaces by publishing a list of each, updating the list from time to time and publishing them on the Defra website on gov.uk instead of making Regulations or Orders.
- Section 43 Amendment of the Planning and Energy Act 2008 (England) Local planning authorities can no longer require that developments in their area meet higher energy efficiency standards than are required by building regulations, regarding construction or alteration developments of dwellings.
- Section 57 Reduction of duties relating to energy and climate change Amends the Climate Change and Sustainable Energy Act 2006 by removing duties and functions on local authorities and the Secretary of State relating to consideration of energy measure reports, setting national targets and increasing sales of electricity generated by microgeneration, reviewing development orders facilitating the installation of equipment for microgeneration in dwelling-houses, and removes the duty to promote the use of heat from renewable sources.
In relation to England removes the requirement on the Secretary of State to lay reports before Parliament about actions taken to improve compliance with building regulations relating to energy conservation.
- Section 58 Household waste: de-criminalisation (England, except London) Removes the offence of failing to put out waste in a certain way for collection by the local authority i.e. to segregate waste into specified receptacles. Whilst this may be a welcome change for some householders, it could result in a reduction in recycling rates, will make segregating waste more difficult for waste operators and could reduce the quality of recycled materials.
- Section 97 Access to registers kept by the Gas and Electricity Markets Authority A positive change has been made to allow these registers to be made available on the Authorities website instead of a hardcopy at their premises.
- Section 100 Repeal of duty to prepare sustainable community strategy (England) Removes the requirement for local authorities to prepare sustainable community strategies.
- Schedule 13 Other measures relating to animals, food and the environment Removes the power to establish joint waste authorities in England.- Amends the Control of Pollution Act 1974 by removing the power of local authorities to designate areas as noise abatement zones.
Amends the Environment Act 1995 by removing the duty on local authorities to carry out further air quality assessments in designated air quality management areas.