Legal and policy changes in 2016
the environmentalist highlights some the major changes due over the next 12 months
Last year was a momentous one for the environment and sustainability. On the global front, COP21 at the end of the year delivered a new climate deal. In Europe, the commission finally unveiled its circular economy package in December. Domestically, the election of a majority Conservative government in May heralded the end of schemes to support the development of renewable energy and more energy-efficient buildings. This year may not be so hectic on the legislation and policy front, but there are still some major developments planned of which practitioners should be aware.
The great unknown is the UK referendum on EU membership. The date of the poll has yet to be decided but, whether it is this year or next, discussion on the ramifications of Brexit will undoubtedly become more intense during 2016. Given that around 80% of UK environmental legislation originates from Brussels, any withdrawal could have widespread consequences.
In April 2015, the Supreme Court ordered the environment department to produce a meaningful plan by the end of the year to ensure that the limits on nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions are met as soon as possible. In 2013, 38 of the 43 air quality zones in the UK exceeded the annual NO2 limits ...