Environmental law podcast - January 2020

Environmental law podcast - January 2020

Welcome to the January 2020 environmental law news podcast. In this podcast, Christopher Badger and Mark Davies of 6 Pump Court take us through the following environmental law updates:

  • Predictions for hot topics in environmental law in 2020;
  • Urgenda's success in the Dutch Supreme Court; and 
  • The Upper Tribunal's decision in the ongoing 'fluff' litigation.

To listen to the podcast, click here.

Predictions for 2020 - listen from 0.34 mins

In the first part of the podcast, Chris and Mark talk through some of their predictions for key areas in environmental law during 2020, starting with their thoughts on the soon to be Environment Act 2020.  Chris and Mark suggest that we will see little substantive change to the current shape of the Bill, that the government’s commitment to a ‘level playing field’ will not amount to equivalence with EU standards, that there won't be a non-regression clause and that there are likely to be few effective means of monitoring domestic progress towards the hitting of future environmental targets.

We also hear about the likely success, in the Courts, of Heathrow's third runway and the expansion of producer responsibility schemes. 

Urgenda's success in the Dutch Supreme Court - listen from 4.34 mins

In the middle part of the podcast, we are reminded of the case history of the Urgenda litigation spanning half a decade, brought on behalf of 886 Dutch citizens, concerning the Dutch government's legal duty to prevent dangerous climate change.

Chris and Mark take us through the most recent, and final appeal, at the Dutch Supreme Court on 20 December 2019, in which Urgenda was successful in arguing that the Dutch state’s target should be for a reduction of 25% by 2020 against a 1990 baseline.

Could this line of argument be replicated in the UK Courts? 

The Upper Tribunal's decision in the ongoing 'fluff' litigation - listen from 7.03 mins 

In the final part of the podcast, we hear about the ongoing 'fluff' litigation concerning landfill tax in Devon Waste Management Ltd v Revenue and Customs Commissioners; Biffa Waste Services Ltd v Revenue and Customs Commissioners [2020] All ER (D) 10 (Jan).

Chris and Mark begin by reminding us that, in this context, 'fluff' is the black bag waste from domestic premises that is used as part of a base layer to protect the liner of the landfill cell. They explain how the Upper Tribunal has found that the First Tier Tribunal in fact misinterpreted fluff as waste, and that it is actually being used and so should not be subject to landfill tax, as it is not waste at all.

We'll see whether HMRC appeals this to the Court of Appeal.

For further information, see Practice Notes:

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About the author:

Simone is an environmental law specialist and is head of LexisPSL Environment.

Simone moved to LexisNexis from Clyde & Co where she trained. Whilst at Clyde & Co Simone gained experience in contentious work, including large scale arbitrations, private claims and regulatory breaches, and a variety of non-contentious issues. Some of her experience includes the EU Emissions Trading System, the domestic Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme, environmental due diligence, Energy Performance Certificates, permitting requirements and contaminated land.

Simone has written a number of articles, which have been published in various journals and is a trustee of the United Kingdom Environmental Law Association (UKELA).