Veolia UK _ Policy News November 2019

Policy News, November - December 2019

Resources & Waste, Energy, Environment & Climate and Infrastructure, Research & Development

The latest updates on the policies affecting your business.


  • Resources & Waste
    • WRAP survey finds continuous progress in food waste reduction
    • Scottish Parliament Committee supports DRS introduction
  • Decommissioning & Demolition
    • UK's oil and gas decommissioning set to rise
  • Environment & Climate
    • HM Treasury launches Net Zero Review 
    • UN emissions gap report 2019
    • COP25 highlights 
  • Infrastructure, Research & Development
    • Imperial college report

Resources and Waste

Continuous progress in food waste reduction through better labelling, says WRAP survey

WRAP released its 2019 survey which reviews the implementation progress of the published Food Standards Agency (FSA) and Defra's best practises on how to apply and use food date labels and other on-pack advice. Excellent progress has been made in some areas (e.g. product life extension on dairy products, removal of date codes and adoption of the blue fridge logo on fresh produce, use of the snowflake logo on bread). 

Veolia is the first waste management company who signed up to WRAPs Food Reduction Roadmap, which will help businesses improve their resource efficiency and create cost and carbon savings.

Scottish Parliament Committee overwhelmingly supports the introduction of a DRS

The Scottish Environment committee published its report and recommendations in relation to the introduction of a DRS in Scotland. Scottish MPs are widely supporting the scheme and agree with a minimum deposit rate of 20p but with flexibility to vary that rate upward. Whilst accepting that the scheme would focus initially on drinks containers, the Committee has called on the Scottish Government to consider making the scheme as comprehensive as possible and introduce other materials such as cartons, pouches and other plastics in a phased way. A single industry led Scheme Administrator should be set up with representatives from all parts of the supply chain to ensure the governance.

Decommissioning and Demolition

UK's oil and gas decommissioning is set to rise in the next ten years

The recent annual Decommissioning Insight report published by OGUK indicates that the sector is quickly growing in competitiveness and efficiency.  While decommissioning activity on the UK Continental Shelf is expected to increase, expenditure will remain consistent at around £1.5 billion per year thanks to improving efficiency performance.

Key findings:

  • Decommissioning now represents just under 10% of the oil and gas industry's overall expenditure
  • Scale of decommissioning expenditure remains steady at around £1.5 billion per year
  • Over the next decade, forecast expenditure for UKCS decommissioning remains constant at £15.2 billion
  • M&A activity in some areas of the North Sea is extending the life of offshore assets and moving decommissioning activity to the future
  • Within the next ten years, £67 billion will be spent decommissioning oil and gas assets in the global market
  • To date, 9% of all the platforms installed on the UKCS have been decommissioned 

Environment & Climate

HM Treasury launches a Net Zero Review focusing on how to deliver and fund the ambition

HM Treasury announced a review into the costs of the UK's transition to a net-zero economy. The review will be published in Autumn 2020, after a consultative period, and will set out principles to guide decision-making during the transition to net-zero. It will consider the full range of government levers, including tax. Key aspects of the review will focus on:

  • How households, businesses and taxpayers could contribute towards different elements of the transition to net zero
  • Identifying mechanisms to create an equitable balance of contributions
  • Maximising opportunities for economic growth 
  • Evaluating the trade-offs between cost, competitiveness, effects on the consumers and impacts on the taxpayer

UN emissions gap report 2019: bleak assessment of GHG emissions reduction pledges

In the latest emissions gap report, the United Nations (UN) warned that 1.5° climate target is 'slipping out of reach' as GHG emissions continue to rise, despite scientific warnings and political commitments. The report recommends global emissions to fall by 7.6%, starting now and continuing until 2030, in order to stay within the 1.5°C cap on temperature rise to avoid an environmental crisis. The latest World Meteorological Organisation figures also indicate that 2018 GHG concentrations in the atmosphere reached yet another high. Carbon dioxide concentrations were recorded at 407.8 parts per million (ppm) in 2018, which is an increase from 405.5 ppm recorded in 2017. Levels of methane also increased, around 60% of which is produced by human activity. Overall: carbon dioxide is at 147% of the pre-industrial level, methane is at 259%, nitrous oxide is at 123%.

Highlights COP25: climate talks end in stalemate, pressure on the UK to COP26 in 2020

This year's UN climate conference, COP25 in Madrid, became the longest on record as delegates struggled to find agreement to finalise the rulebook of the Paris Agreement. The conference endorsed a declaration on the urgent need to close the gap between existing emissions pledges and the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement - an outcome UN secretary general Antonio Guterres called disappointing. Following more than two weeks of fraught negotiations, climate talks broke up with no agreement on carbon trading market and a lack of consensus on reporting requirements for transparency and common timeframes for climate pledges, pushing decisions into next year. The outcome builds enormous pressure on the UK, hosting next year's COP26 in Glasgow, to reach substantial progress and show increased ambition on mitigation, adaptation and finance to tackle the climate crisis. 

Infrastructure, Research & Development

Imperial College report: current investment in low-carbon infrastructure is too low

A new report 'Financing low-carbon infrastructure' from Imperial College Business School and TheCityUK argue that meeting the UK Government's target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 will require unprecedented investment in low-carbon infrastructure. The report 'Financing low-carbon infrastructure'  asserts that current investment in low-carbon infrastructure is well below what is needed to meet climate change targets in most major markets. Significant barriers exist, from structural issues and market failures, to misaligned incentives, which are holding back investment. These challenges include political, regulatory, financial data and technological hurdles.