5 Environmental Legislative Requirements In Project Planning

Paul Naybour

The five environmental legislative requirements are as follows:
1. Part 2A Environmental Protection Act 1990
2. Environmental Impact Assessments
3. Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005
4. Section 85 (1) of the Water Resources Act 1991
5. The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

These are discussed in further detail below:
Part 2A Environmental Protection Act 1990
Part 2A of the Environmental Act 1990 introduced the regime for the identification and remediation of contaminated land. Part 2A was inserted into the 1990 Act by section 57 of the Environment Act 1995 and came into effect in England on 1 April 2000.
The Act sets out a statutory definition of contaminated land which includes the notion that there is a significant possibility of significant harm being caused by the contamination. This definition establishes the principle of pollutant linkage (the three elements of which are the source, path and receptor) which, if established, is a pollutant. Local authorities are required to undertake investigations of their areas to ascertain whether or not land is contaminated and where they make determination that the land is contaminated in accordance with Part 2A of the Environmental Act 1990 they have a statutory duty to ensure that it is remediated. However, the legal and financial responsibility for the remediation will fall upon either the class A or class B person. The class A person is the party that caused the pollution. However, if they cannot be established or located the liability will transfer to the class B person who is the owner of the land. This will be an issue for a property developer since, as a land owner, the may find themselves liable for a whole burden of liabilities in cases where the original polluters cannot be found.

A project manager will need to be aware of this legislation so that they can either:
1. Inform a sponsor of the potential risk in the event that a site has not been purchased 
2. Be aware of the processes required in the decontamination of a site in the event that
contamination is found during site investigations
3. Ensure that the risks associated with this legislation are included in the project risk

Environmental Impact Assessments
An Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a statutory tool for assessing the environmental impacts of development projects, and identifying the measures that can be taken to reduce these impacts. These have been established in the UK since 1988 and have been made a statutory requirement for certain projects by the implementation of two key European Directives (Directive 85/337 the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment and the subsequent Directive 97/11). The requirements of the EIA Directives have been incorporated into UK law principally through the Town and Country Planning (Assessment of Environmental Effects) Regulations 1988 and the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) (England and Wales) Regulations 1999.

The regulations govern which projects are required to have an EIA and the information that must be included. The minimum level of information required is:
1. A description of the development comprising information on the site, design and size of development
2. A description of the measures envisaged in order to avoid, reduce and if possible, remedy significant adverse effects
3. The data required to identify and assess the main effects, which the development is likely to have on the environment
4. An outline of the main alternatives studied by the applicant or appellant and an indication of the main reasons for this choice taking into account the environmental effects
5. A non-technical summary of the information provided 

The local planning authority will usually require the information listed below to be included in the report to assist their decision making process:
1. A description of the aspects of the environment likely to be significantly affected by the development (including the local community, flora, fauna and wildlife)
2. A description of the likely significant effects of the development on the environment which should cover direct and indirect effects resulting from:
a. The existence of the development
b. The use of natural resources
c. The emission of pollutants, the creation of nuisances and the elimination of waste
d. The description by the applicant of the forecasting methods used to assess the
effects of the environment

The EIA process can be expensive and time consuming. In the event that a proposed development is contentious a project manager will need to allow for the possibility of having to lodge an appeal and select specialist consultants who have experience of giving evidence at public enquiries.

The role of the project manager requires a clear understanding of the EIA process and the need for timeline management of the various tasks that will need to be undertaken. The work will often be seasonably dependent (e.g. some elements of ecology) and some assessments will take longer to gather and evaluate the data (e.g. hydrology)

Hazardous Waste (England and Wales) Regulations 2005
This legislation defines waste that is deemed to be hazardous and creates obligations in the respect of the separation, removal and disposal of waste. The legislation requires the transportation of waste to be appropriately recorded, carried by a licensed waste carrier and to be disposed of at a site designated for the specific waste. The purpose of this legislation is that by ensuing that hazardous waste is disposed of at specifically allocated sites the soil is protected and its loss or contamination is kept to a
minimum.A project manager needs to be aware of this legislation so that they can ensure that an audit trail is put in place with contractors being required to provide evidence that they are transporting and disposing waste appropriately. This will reduce the risk of a client being exposed to prosecution as a result of a contractor not complying with the legislation.

Section 85 (1) of the Water Resources Act 1991
This makes it an offence to “cause or knowingly permit” any poisonous, noxious or polluting matter or any solid waste matter to enter “controlled waters”. This can occur by seepage through soil or surface flow through a pipe or conduit. Although trade effluents can be discharged into drains or sewers under the Water Industry Act 1991 (as amended by the Water act 2003) the discharge is subject to conditions stipulated by the authorization obtained from the sewerage undertaker. However, an offence is committed if a person causes or knowingly permits any matter other than trade or sewage effluent to enter controlled waters
via the drainage system in contravention of a prohibition imposed by the Environment Agency. A project manager needs to be aware of this to ensure that the disposal of waste is properly controlled and that a contractor does not negligently discharge waste and leave the employer vulnerable to prosecution arising from this.

The Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981
This act has been subject to various amendments (e.g. Wildlife and Countryside (Amendments) Act 1985 and the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 200 (in England and Wales). This legislation makes it an offence to intentionally injure or kill any wild bird or animal listed in the Act. An example of this is that bats are a protected species and if a roost is discovered in a property or building no works, that would disturb them, may be carried out. A project manager is required to be aware of this legislation so that they may ensure that appropriate surveys are carried out at the commencement of a project to ensure that the presence of bats can be assessed and any risks associated with their disturbance is mitigated.

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