"Back off... don’t touch it, it’s caused too much political trouble", Natural England told by DEFRA officials. Photograph: David Tipling/UIG via Getty Images "Back off... don’t touch it, it’s caused too much political trouble", Natural England told by DEFRA officials. Photograph: David Tipling/UIG via Getty Images

10 key things that happened this week

Ten of the biggest stories from the past week: ‘Back off’: ministers told Natural England to drop review of bird kill licences in 2014; ‘Lipstick on a pig’: MPs and green groups savage green Brexit proposals; Cuadrilla warned for releasing tonnes of methane...

‘Back off’: ministers told Natural England to drop review of bird kill licences in 2014, MPs hear

A 2014 review of general bird kill licences was dropped after DEFRA ministers put pressure on Natural England to “back off”, according to the deputy chair of Natural England. MORE

‘Lipstick on a pig’: MPs and green groups savage green Brexit proposals

Theresa May’s pledge to maintain environmental standards after Brexit as part of a new Brexit proposal to be put before parliament has caused outrage among green campaigners. MORE

Cuadrilla warned for releasing tonnes of methane

Fracking firm Cuadrilla Resources has breached three of its environmental permitting conditions, according to an Environment Agency audit of its Preston New Road shale gas exploration site. MORE

80 UK companies ‘in breach of REACH’

At least 80 UK companies have failed to meet data safety standards for chemicals under the REACH regulation, according to a German campaign group. BUND, also known as Friends of the Earth Germany, obtained details of a German government investigation from 2014 that found 940 dossiers did not comply with the regulation, which requires companies to include safety information on chemicals registered in an EU-wide database. MORE

DEFRA takes 8% Natural England budget cut ‘off the table’

The government has rowed back on plans to cut Natural England’s budget by 8% in the 2019/20 financial year, according to DEFRA, but it is unclear whether the wildlife regulator will avoid cuts altogether. MORE

Oil firm fined £1.2m for ‘catastrophic’ methane release

Marathon Oil UK has been fined £1.16m after corroded gas pipework ruptured four years ago, causing severe damage to its Brae Alpha offshore platform. On Boxing Day 2015, a 20cm diameter high-pressure pipe ripped open due to corrosion. MORE

Landowners to Gove: Give us new general bird kill licences free of burdens

“Gold-plating and mission creep” has led to the “current chaos” surrounding Natural England’s withdrawal of three general bird control licences, which should be replaced with lighter touch permits, according to landowning and shooting groups. MORE

Councils increasingly sending low-grade plastics for incineration

Councils are increasingly sending polyethylene terephthalate (PET) pots, tubs and trays for incineration due to severely limited end markets, a survey of local authorities suggests. MORE

Dry summer and lack of watering wipes out 89,000 trees on HS2 rail line

Tens of thousands of trees planted along the High Speed Two rail route to mitigate its environmental impact died last summer due to record temperatures, low rainfall and lack of watering. HS2 planted 234,000 trees between November 2017 and March 2018 but 38% of them  perished in the heat across 60 of its sites, an HS2 spokesman said. MORE

North Sea decommissioning site set for massive expansion

Veolia has secured permission from the Environment Agency (EA) to expand its oil and gas platform decommissioning facility in Great Yarmouth, to accommodate an anticipated increase in business in the coming years. A variation to the site’s environmental permit was granted this week, permitting it to expand from 5,500 to 33,000 square metres – six times greater than now. MORE

Compliance Search

Discover all ENDS content in one place, including legislation summaries to keep up to date with compliance deadlines

Compliance Deadlines

Plan ahead with our Calendar feature highlighting upcoming compliance deadlines

News from ENDS Europe

News from ENDS Waste & Bioenergy