Category Archives: Press Releases

‘No Deal’ EU Exit: Government Issues Reminder To Waste Industry

Waste industry should review contingency plans in case of disruption should the UK leaves the EU without a deal

The waste industry should review contingency plans for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit

The waste industry should review contingency plans for the possibility of a no-deal Brexit

The government is reminding companies which export waste from the UK to review their contingency plans in case of disruption at ports, should the UK leave the European Union without a deal.

Leaving the EU with a deal remains the government’s top priority. This has not changed. However, a responsible government must plan for every eventuality, including a no deal scenario.

With or without a deal, all existing consents which authorise the export of hazardous waste, known as ‘notified waste’, to any EU country will remain valid when we leave the EU. Companies that export waste from the UK will see no change in the processes that govern the export of ‘non-notified waste’ (‘green-list’ wastes) to the EU.

However, in the event of no deal, changes to border controls may impact on some waste exports.

Disruptions at container ports are not expected, but there may be some delays at locations which operate ‘roll-on, roll-off’ systems. Waste importers and exporters should make a plan to minimise any impacts on their business. In particular, a reasonable worst case scenario is one in which flow through the short Channel crossings (both imports and exports) could be reduced significantly for several months.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:

Our landmark Resources and Waste Strategy makes clear that we are committed to dealing with more of our waste in the UK and increasing recycling. But in the short term, we have taken important action to ensure any disruption caused by a no-deal Brexit can be minimised.

This government has been absolutely clear on our commitment to deliver a Brexit deal negotiated with the EU. But the government is preparing for any eventuality and we need our businesses to do the same.

What you should do if you export waste

If you or your business collects, transports or stores waste that is due to be exported to the EU, your existing permit or licence still applies and you are expected to continue to meet its conditions.

Given anticipated disruption at some ports, you should make a plan to minimise any impacts on your business:

  • review your own capacity and how long you can store waste on your site
  • identify alternative storage facilities that could accept your waste
  • assess if there are other export routes to market that avoid impacted ports
  • identify any alternative recovery or disposal routes for your waste
  • contact your haulage operator to discuss any potential changes to transport plans

If you do change your export route, you will also need to change your export notification. This must be agreed by the UK and overseas competent authority. In England, you can contact the Environment Agency for advice, or contact the equivalent competent authority if you are in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland.

If you have to keep additional waste on your site for longer than expected, you will need to consider any resulting environmental risks and take steps to keep these properly controlled.

Your contingency plans need to be compatible with the requirements on your permit. In England, if you are unable to make adequate contingency plans you should contact the Environment Agency for advice.

Background
  • Anyone who suspects criminality in the waste industry in England should contact the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
  • People in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland should contact their equivalent competent authority for advice:
  1. Scotland: Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  2. Wales: Natural Resources Wales
  3. Northern Ireland: Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA)
  • ‘Notified wastes’ are hazardous wastes, mixed municipal wastes and the residues from incineration of mixed municipal waste sent for recovery and any wastes sent for disposal. ‘Non-notified’ or ‘green-list’ wastes are non-hazardous wastes destined for recovery.

School Buildings Nationwide To Be Refurbished Through Dedicated Funding

£1.4 billion will be invested to maintain and improve school buildings around the country

The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP

The Rt Hon Damian Hinds MP

Schools in England are to benefit from investment of over £1.4billion in buildings and facilities over the coming financial year.

This includes over £430 million from the Condition Improvement Fund, covering more than 1,400 projects announced today (Thursday, 4 April).

The money also includes almost £800million for local authorities and larger multi-academy trusts to invest in improving and maintaining their schools.

This funding is part of over £7.4 billion capital funding allocated since 2015. In addition, the priority school building programme is rebuilding or refurbishing facilities at over 500 schools across England.

This investment comes after stats last week showed the government is on track to deliver 1 million new school places by 2020 – with 921,000 created since 2010.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

Schools are much more than just buildings; they are the centres of communities, they are where children learn skills for the rest of their lives, and they are safe havens. That’s why it’s vital they are in the best possible condition. So as well as providing the resources for all schools to maintain and renew their facilities, today’s funding will target those schools with some of the most urgent need – making sure children don’t have to spend time in buildings that aren’t fit for purpose.

For the financial year 2019–20, the £1.4 billion of funding includes approximately:

  • Almost £800 million for local authorities, voluntary aided partnerships, larger multi-academy trusts and academy sponsors, to invest in maintaining and improving the condition of their schools;
  • £433 million for the Condition Improvement Fund, which will cover 1,413 projects at 1,210 small and stand-alone academy trusts and sixth-form colleges;
  • Over £200 million of Devolved Formula Capital allocated for schools to spend on small capital projects to meet their own priorities.

Since 2015, the Condition Improvement Fund has allocated nearly £2bn for over 6,000 projects at more than 3,000 schools all over the country.

This year’s funding will go to projects that tackle building condition and health and safety compliance, such as replacing roofs, windows and fire alarm systems, to ensure that schools are kept safe and open.

On top of this the Department is today announcing that over £8 million in interest-free loan funding will be split between 167 academies to pay for energy efficiency projects including heating controls lighting upgrades and insulation.

Figures from 2016/17 show state-funded schools in England spent more than £584 million on gas and electricity and the average secondary school spends around £90,000 a year on energy. This funding will help the schools that receive it save around £1.8million a year, driving down the carbon footprint of the school estate and saving money in the process.

The money comes from the Salix Energy Efficiency Fund which is provided by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and administered by Salix Finance Ltd.

Earlier this year the Department launched a new web-based tool to help schools switch to cheaper energy suppliers.

Lease-Based Providers Of Specialised Supported Housing

Addendum to Regulator of Social Housing's October 2018 Sector risk profile

Regulator of Social Housing

Regulator of Social Housing

The Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) has published an addendum to its October 2018 ‘Sector risk profile’ outlining its views on the sustainability of some registered providers of specialised supported housing who tend to lease most of their property portfolio from property funds and other private investors.

The publication, ‘Lease-based providers of specialised supported housing’ looks at the recurring factors that have led to a number of providers of this type of accommodation with similar business models being assessed by RSHas non-compliant with its Governance and Financial Viability Standard.

The main five themes are:

  • the concentration risk that comes from having long-term, low margin, inflation-linked leases as a single source of finance
  • the thin capitalisation of some of the RPs
  • poor risk management and contingency planning
  • inappropriate governance practises that have led to poor decision making
  • a lack of assurance about whether appropriate rents are being charged.

Fiona MacGregor, Chief Executive of RSH, said:

Specialised supported housing should provide accommodation and care for some of the most vulnerable people in society, enabling them to live independently. Recently we have seen rapid expansion in providers of this type of accommodation, enabled by long term, index-linked lease financing at tight margins for the provider. Substantial reliance on this type of financing creates significant risk exposures, and we are concerned that a number of these providers do not have the resources and skills needed to appraise and manage them. We have also identified cases of poor quality service to tenants and failure to maintain properties to required standards.

We intend to work with the boards of these registered providers to establish whether they can develop a long-term business model that demonstrates they can manage these risks, is sustainable and compliant with our regulatory standards. Where an organisation falls into financial difficulty and tenants are at risk, our priority will be to seek to achieve the best outcome for tenants and to protect their interests. We will be unable to guarantee the position of creditors and investors.

Lease-based providers of specialised supported housing is available on the RSH website.

Additional Information
  1. The Sector Risk Profile 2018 and Governance and Financial Viability Standard is available on the RSH website.
  2. RSH promotes a viable, efficient and well-governed social housing sector able to deliver homes that meet a range of needs. It does this by undertaking robust economic regulation focusing on governance, financial viability and value for money that maintains lender confidence and protects the taxpayer. It also sets consumer standards and may take action if these standards are breached and there is a significant risk of serious detriment to tenants or potential tenants.
  3. For press office contact details, see our Media enquiries page. For general queries, please email enquiries@rsh.gov.uk or call 0300 124 5225.

Independent Report Presents Blueprint For Expanding Dormant Assets Scheme

The dormant assets scheme should be extended to other sectors such as investment and wealth management to benefit more good causes, a new independent report has recommended today

Graph Colour

Graph Colour

The industry-led report has made a number of recommendations on how to broaden the current scheme beyond bank and building society accounts. It calls for consumer protection to remain at the heart of an expanded scheme, with customers always able to reclaim their money.

The current dormant assets scheme has allowed participating firms to make over £600 million available to good causes.

Last year the Government asked four business leaders to work with their respective sectors to see how it could increase the amount of dormant funds released for good causes.

The report authored by four industry champions from the banking, securities, insurance and pensions, and investment and wealth management sectors highlights the opportunities and challenges of an expanded scheme, and makes a series of recommendations.

In a joint quote the industry champions said:

We were pleased to be asked by Ministers in June 2018 to spearhead an industry-led approach to expanding the dormant assets scheme to include a far wider range of assets. The scheme has been a success, with over £600 million being made available to good causes through money unlocked by the banking sector from dormant accounts.

Today’s report shows how industry can significantly expand the money available to good causes, whilst ensuring customers can get their money back.

Minister for Civil Society Mims Davies said:

The dormant assets scheme has already benefited millions of people across the country through releasing money to good causes. I thank the industry champions for their ongoing dedicated commitment, hard work and for producing this comprehensive report. Ministers will rightly consider the recommendations in more detail looking ahead to the best possible future expansion of the scheme.

Economic Secretary to the Treasury John Glen said:

We have channelled hundreds of millions from dormant accounts to help those who need it most. Support from the industry has been vital in achieving this and I’d like to thank them for their hard work on this report. Their recommendations will help us set out how we go further and raise even more for worthy causes across the UK.

The four industry champions who authored the report are:

  • Insurance and Pensions Champion- Kirsty Cooper, Group General Counsel and Company Secretary at Aviva;
  • Banking Champion- Simon Kenyon, Managing Director of consumer banking at Lloyds Banking Group;
  • Investment and Wealth Management Champion- William Nott, formerly Chief Executive Officer, M&G Securities; and
  • Securities Champion- Robert Welch, Group Secretary at Tesco.

The government will now consider the recommendations, consult with stakeholders and set out next steps in due course.

In any expanded scheme, the priority will continue to be to reunite customers with their funds. Only where this isn’t possible, following rigorous, unsuccessful efforts to locate the account holder, will funds be released to support good causes.

Customers will be able to reclaim the full value of their assets in perpetuity, as they do in the current scheme, and firms would continue to participate on a voluntary basis.

UK, Norway And Iceland Sign Trade Continuity Agreement 

The UK has today signed a new trade continuity agreement with Norway and Iceland

UK, Norway and Iceland

UK, Norway and Iceland

A trade continuity agreement will see British businesses and consumers benefitting from continued trade with Iceland and Norway after we leave the European Union.

Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner to Europe, Andrew Mitchell, signed the UK- Iceland-Norway agreement on trade in goods in London today (2nd April 2019) with Stefán Haukur Jóhannesson, Ambassador of Iceland to the UK, and Wegger Christian Strømmen, Ambassador of Norway to the UK.

The news has been welcomed by businesses including Grimsby Fish Dock, who say it will help to support jobs and ensure they can keep trading without significant disruption.

The agreement covers trade in goods and will only be used in a no deal scenario. It maintains the same level of tariffs on goods traded between the UK, Iceland and Norway.

Trading on these preferential terms in a no deal scenario, rather than on World Trade Organization terms, will deliver significant savings and help to safeguard British jobs.

British businesses could avoid up to £15 million a year in tariff charges on exports that would otherwise apply if an agreement wasn’t in place.

The UK’s trade with Iceland and Norway was worth around £30 billion last year, with just over £24 billion of this in goods.

Consumers and businesses in the UK will continue to benefit from more choice and lower prices on goods imported from Iceland and Norway, such as aluminium products and some fuel and oil products.

HM Trade Commissioner for Europe Andrew Mitchell said:

Today’s agreement secures continued preferences for goods trade with Iceland and Norway for British businesses, as we prepare to leave the EU. These are key trading partners with whom we have a longstanding and historic trading relationship.

Our trade with Iceland and Norway was worth around £30 billion last year, with just over £24 billion of this in goods. This is good news for British businesses and we have a golden opportunity to further liberalise trade with these countries in the years ahead.

Grimsby Fish Market has welcomed the news, which it believes will be of benefit to businesses and consumers alike. The market has one of the largest daily auctions and the largest concentration of fish processors anywhere in the UK.

The town has strong links with Icelandic and Norwegian fishing industries with up to 75% of all the fish sold on the Grimsby Fish Market coming from Iceland and the majority of the fish sold to Grimsby fish processors coming from Norway.

Martyn Boyers, Chief Executive of market operator Grimsby Fish Dock Enterprises Ltd, said:

Grimsby relies heavily on Icelandic and Norwegian supplies to the daily fish auction and to the processors.

This trade deal is extremely welcome, in fact vital, as 70% of the fish consumed in the UK is imported, most of that supply coming from Iceland and Norway.

It also gives clarity and confidence to numerous businesses within the Humber region.

The news has also been welcomed by Leonardo Helicopters, who employ nearly 2,800 people at their base in Yeovil, Somerset.

The company has a contract worth more than £1 billion to supply search and rescue helicopters to Norway and support them in service for the next 15 years.

Geoff Munday, Managing Director of Leonardo Helicopters UK said:

Leonardo welcomes the signing of the UK-Iceland-Norway trade agreement as Norway is an important export market for our UK designed and manufactured helicopters and airborne electronic systems.

We have been doing business with Norway for nearly 50 years, are currently delivering 16 AW101 new generation search and rescue helicopters and see significant future business opportunities.

The government is seeking continuity for existing EU trade agreements which the UK participates in as a member of the EU. These agreements constitute around 11% of the UK’s trade.

The new UK-Iceland-Norway agreement maintains tariff preferences already in place on goods traded between the UK, Iceland and Norway. It will come into effect from exit day if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

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