Environment law update April 2014

This SA environment law update of April 2014 includes the stalled ISO 14001 revision, and the legal requirement for Pollution Prevention Plans.

ISO 14001 revision stalled

The people writing the ISO 14001 environmental management standard’s third edition are stuck in disagreements about a new ISO risk regime.

ISO Technical Committee 207 suffered unresolved disagreements, causing postponement of the expected ISO 14001 revision of 2014, probably to late 2015, said Riskza.

The drafters could not find consensus on key elements of improving the standard. Most disagreements centre on the recent ISO Directive nicknamed High Level Structure (HLS), requiring all system standards to adopt a process approach, risk-based approach, and systems management method.

Some non-negotiable text inclusions intended for all ISO standards, has also caused confusion in the committee.

The seventh meeting of the ISO 14001 TC in Padua, Italy, in March, got stuck on Clauses 4 and 6, and defined five major areas requiring clarification;

• How do the principles of process and systems management support environmental management systems?
• Ways and means for supporting and measuring conformance and performance outcomes?
• Determining relevant context?
• Differences between Risks and Hazards, Threats and Perils?
• Compliant Risk Management techniques and methodologies?

If the gurus are stuck, environmental managers and other users of the standard are sure to be confused.

Operators must file pollution prevention plans

Environmental Affairs in Notice 171 under the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, published National Pollution Prevention Plans Regulations on 14 March 2014, with a 30-day comment period.

The draft regulation provides for the requirements and content of such plans and when they should be submitted. Pollution Prevention Plans should be submitted by 31 March 2015, and every five years thereafter.

Annual progress reports are also required. Plans and progress reports are subject to approval, and may be rejected for amendment prior to implementation.

Notice 172 under the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, published the Declaration of greenhouse gases as priority air pollutants on 14 March 2014, for a 30 day comment period.

The draft regulation declares these gases as priority air pollutants;
Carbon Dioxide
Methane
Nitrous Oxide
Hydrofluorocarbons
Perfluorocarbons
Sulphur hexafluoride.

Chemical manufacturers have to submit pollution prevention plans (see Notice 171) should emissions of the declared gases exceed 0.1 Megatonnes per year.

Temporary asphalt plants regulated

Notice 201 under the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, published the Declaration of temporary asphalt plants as controlled emitter and establishment of emission standards.

This is a national declaration and gives the air quality officer responsibility for co-ordination of matters pertaining to the Notice. All new and existing temporary asphalt plants will be subject to this, but have different compliance timeframes.

The methods for calculating emissions and reporting requirements are prescribed. Emission limits and a reporting template is provided. This draft regulation was published on 04 April 2014, for a 60 day comment period.

Provinces approve Waste Amendment Bill

The Waste Amendment Bill was approved by the National Council of Provinces, without amendment, on 27 March 2014. The Bill has been sent to the President for his signature. For a copy of the current text, contact caiainfo@caia.co.za.

• Sources; PMG. CAIA. RC. SABS. Riskza.
• SA health and safety law updates are posted separately on Sheqafrica.com

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