Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Fourteenth Report


Memorandum by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) (Amendment)
Regulations 2001 (S.I. 2001/503)

1. The Committee has requested a memorandum on the following point:

    The explanatory note to this instrument states that regulation 2(2) provides for certain activities listed in Part 1 of Schedule 1 to the 2000 Regulations to be moved from one Section or Part of a Section to another section or part of a section. Explain the point and substance of these amendments and of those made by regulation 2(3), and why this is not made clear in the Explanatory Note (see paragraph 2.74) of Statutory Instrument Practice).

2. The effect of the amendment made by regulation 2(2)(a)(i) is that the activity of 'grinding cement clinker' (where that activity is carried out separately from the production of cement clinker) becomes a Part A(2) activity for the purposes of the Pollution Prevention and Control (England and Wales) Regulations 2000 (S.I. 2000/1973) ("the 2000 Regulations"). The activity was previously a Part A(1) activity. This change means that the regulatory functions conferred or imposed by the 2000 Regulations on the Environment Agency become functions of the relevant local authority. This change does not affect the measures which must be taken by the operator of the plant to protect the environment.

3. The amendments made by the remainder of regulation 2(2) have the effect that the following activities (which were Part B activities under the 2000 Regulations) become Part A(2) activities:

    Grinding of metallurgical slag (regulation 2(2)(a)(ii))—previously, this activity fell within paragraph (a) of Part B of section 3.5 of Schedule 1. (Where this activity is undertaken as part of an activity listed in Part A(1) of Section 2.1 or 2.2 of Schedule 1, its status as a part A(1) activity is unaffected by these Regulations.

    Manufacture of cellulose fibre reinforced calcium silicate board using unbleached pulp (regulation 2(2)(b))—previously, this activity fell within Part B of Section 6.6; and

    Manufacturing new tyres in large plant using natural rubber, synthetic organic elastomers or other substances mixed with them (regulation 2(2)(e))—previously, this activity fell within Part B of Section 6.7.

4. These remaining amendments change the regulatory regime which applies to the relevant activities (but do not change the regulator, which in each case remains the relevant local authority). The significant effects of the changes are as follows:

    (a)  The functions conferred or imposed on the regulator are exercisable "for the purpose of achieving a high level of protection of the environment taken as a whole by, in particular, preventing or, where that is not practicable, reducing emissions into the air, water and land" (as opposed simply to preventing/reducing emissions into the air) (see regulation 8(3) of the 2000 Regulations).

    (b)  When determining the conditions of a permit, the regulator must take account of the additional general principles set out in regulation 11(3) of the 2000 Regulations which are designed to ensure that—

      (i)  the plant is operated in such a way that—
  • the production of waste is minimised, and any waste produced is recovered, or disposed of in a way which minimises its environmental impact;
  • energy is used efficiently;
  • accidents are avoided and their consequences are limited;

      (ii)  when the activities are finally ended, steps are taken to ensure that pollution risks are avoided and the site is returned to a satisfactory state.

    (c)  The conditions to be included in a permit may be different, under regulation 12(1)(b) and (c) of the 2000 Regulations.

5. Regulation 2(3) sets out the relevant periods for the purposes of paragraph 2(1) of Part I of Schedule 3 to the 2000 Regulations for any existing installation or mobile plant where one of the activities set out in paragraph 3 above is carried out. Regulation 9(1) of the 2000 Regulations provides that such an installation or mobile plant may only be operated after the prescribed date under and to the extent authorised by a permit. Regulation 9(2) provides that the prescribed dates are those which appear in Schedule 3. Paragraph 2(1) of that Schedule provides that for existing installations or mobile plant, the prescribed date is:

  • where an application for a permit is duly made within the relevant period, the date of determination of the application;
  • where no such application is made, the date after the date on which the relevant period expires.

Thus, the effect of regulation 2(3) is in essence to specify the dates between which applications for permits for existing installations must be made.

6. These Regulations were the subject of two separate consultations last year. The Department understands that the number of installations in England and Wales carrying out the activities affected by the instrument is less than 20 in total. In the case of all sectors involved, the relevant trade association (or, in the case of specific board manufacturing, an individual firm) made the case for transfer.

7. In these circumstances, the Department considered that the level of detail given in the Explanatory Note was sufficient. However, it will bear in mind the Committee's views when Explanatory Notes are prepared in future for instruments which amend the 2000 Regulations.

4 April 2001

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