Legal insight: updates on digital tracking and waste

28th November 2023

Digital tracking, packaging data delays and new collections provide a waste focus for this edition’s environmental round-up by legislation expert Neil Howe

As we head into the parliamentary Christmas recess, there’s been a flurry of notable developments to end 2023, and some to keep an eye on for 2024 and beyond. Everything you need to know is discussed below.

Retained law reclassified

The Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Act 2023 comes into force fully at the end of the year, removing the special status given to retained EU laws following Brexit. When the UK withdrew from the EU, it retained the majority of EU laws that directly applied into domestic legislation. This included EU regulations and decisions. However, the government argued that the special status given to retained law made it harder to amend, repeal or replace. The act therefore sets out a revocation or ‘sunsetting’ of specified retained legislation and national legislation derived from the EU, and reclassifies all EU-based laws that have been retained by the UK. They are now to be known as assimilated laws.

Digital waste tracking

Defra has confirmed plans to introduce mandatory digital waste tracking across the UK from April 2025. This will give the government information on where and how waste is created, who is handling it, what is done to it and where it ends up. The UK-wide scheme will also help move towards a circular economy and transform the way environmental regulators monitor compliance, prioritise regulatory activities and help prevent waste crime. Next steps are regulations to set out the exact details and amendments to legislation on the waste duty of care, hazardous waste, transfrontier shipments of waste, waste permitting and licensing. The waste duty of care codes of practice will also be revised.

Packaging reporting deferred

The packaging data reporting requirements and related fees for large producers under the recent Packaging Waste (Data Reporting) Regulations have been delayed by a year. Government talks and pressure from the industry concluded that the delay will help to reduce the impact on inflation, as enforcing this scheme could push up produce prices, which is not desirable in the current economic climate. A new regulatory position statement has been published that will allow large producers to delay the reporting of data without being liable to a fine, as long as they comply with certain conditions.

In court

A director and his waste company that had failed to obtain an environmental permit have been ordered to pay nearly £110,000 following a case brought by the Environment Agency for illegal waste activities.

Lastly, in case law, in ABX Air Inc v Environment Agency, aircraft operator ABX’s appeal against an excessive emissions penalty under the Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Order 2020 has been dismissed.


Waste collection reforms

The government has announced reforms to household and business bin collections in a bid to boost recycling rates and move to a “common-sense” approach to recycling. The new plan will mean everyone across England can recycle the same things at home, work, school etc. A timeline for implementation has been set out and includes revised waste collections.

Vehicle emissions

The Draft Vehicle Emissions Trading Schemes Order 2023 aims to establish four new trading schemes, which limit CO2 emissions resulting from the registration of new cars and light commercial vehicles (vans). They will contribute to the UK’s emissions reduction targets and net-zero goal, and form part of the transition to zero-emission vehicles that is underpinned by the commitment to end the sale of new non-zero-emission cars and vans in 2035.

Wet wipe ban

Defra has consulted on a proposed ban on the manufacture, supply and sale of wet wipes that contain plastic, in a bid to tackle plastic pollution and clean up waterways. Wet wipes containing plastic break down into microplastics over time, which can be harmful to the environment and human health. Banning them would help alleviate this issue, and reduce the volume of microplastics entering wastewater treatment plants when wrongly flushed.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

UK public wants more involvement in planning process, IEMA research finds

Three in five British adults want more public involvement in the planning system, which could be at odds with Labour’s plans to boost economic growth, IEMA research has found.

3rd July 2024

Read more

Consumers are flexing their purchasing power in support of more sustainable products and services. Dr Andrew Coburn, CEO of sustainability intelligence and analytics firm, Risilience, considers the risk of greenwashing and sets out three key steps businesses can take to avoid the pitfalls and meet the opportunities of changing consumer demand.

18th June 2024

Read more

Groundbreaking legislation on air and noise pollution and measures to tackle growing concerns over disposable vapes provide the focus for Neil Howe’s environmental legislation update

6th June 2024

Read more

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Dr Julie Riggs issues a call to arms to tackle a modern-day human tragedy

15th March 2024

Read more

The UK’s new biodiversity net gain (BNG) requirements could create 15,000 hectares of woodlands, heath, grasslands, and wetlands and absorb 650,000 tonnes of carbon each year.

13th March 2024

Read more

Campaign group Wild Justice has accused the UK government of trying to relax pollution rules for housebuilders “through the backdoor”.

14th February 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close