IEMA’s deputy CEO, Martin Baxter, outlines the key regulations and standards to look out for in 2023
Important decisions will be made in 2023 on new laws and regulations that will shape environment and sustainability practice. Some of the main mechanisms in the Environment Act 2021 will come into effect – the delayed long-term targets in the areas of biodiversity, water, air quality, and resource efficiency and waste will be set through statutory instrument and will dictate the direction of travel for the next 15 to 20 years.
Biodiversity net gain for new development will also come into effect, requiring new development projects to achieve a 10% increase in biodiversity, either through on-site or off -site enhancements. Changes are also proposed to the Environmental Impact Assessment and Strategic Environmental Assessment regimes through the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill. Currently being considered in the House of Lords, the Bill is likely to gain Royal Assent later in 2023, although regulations will not be implemented until 2024 at the earliest, following consultation, which was due to launch in January. One of the significant uncertainties from an environmental law perspective is whether the Retained EU Law Bill gains Royal Assent and, if so, what timescale will be required for the revocation, or reconfirmation, of EU-derived legislation. Definitely one to watch.
From a standards perspective, 2023 will see a decision on whether the global environmental management system standard ISO 14001 will be amended or revised. Given the significant number of users – over 420,000 accredited certificates (and many more organisations that aren’t certified) – this is not a decision that is being taken lightly. We will keep IEMA members informed and, if changes are to be made, we will offer a range of engagement opportunities.