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Plastics control is set to be bolstered in July 2021

Consider Environmental Liability Insurance as Plastics Control Prepares to Tighten

Jul 2020

Plastics control is set to be bolstered in July 2021, with the publication of a new specification aimed at preventing environmental pollution by plastic pellets, flakes and powders.

The aim of the Publicly Available Specification 510, shortened to PAS 510, will be to prevent leakage of these plastic materials into the environment, at all points in the supply chain. The procedures specified will apply to users of plastic pellets – the generic name being applied to pellets, flakes and powders – as well as plastics processors, handlers, storers or distributors.[1]

This specification is set to lay out best practice with regard to this form of plastics pollution and will be drawn up by experts from across the supply chain.

Tighter control of this type of environmental pollution will assist the health of the world’s oceans, into which plastic pellets can easily leak. This is not just a UK issue but a global one and it is hoped that actions in the UK will improve stewardship elsewhere, as the experts seek to develop a “globally applicable standard.”

Plastic pellets are said to be the second largest source of direct microplastic pollution entering the world’s oceans, with adverse effects on many species, including fish and seabirds including puffins.

In June 2019, a YouGov survey suggested that concern for the environment was at an all-time high in Britain, with more than a quarter of respondents putting it in the top three issues that the country needed to tackle, behind Brexit (67%) and health (32%).[2] In February of this year, 2020 was declared the Year of Climate Action, by Prime Minister, Boris Johnson.

The new specification is just one of many measures the UK can expect to see introduced in the coming months and years. The Environment Bill has ambitious goals and, in describing it, on February 6 2020, Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, talked of “more effective enforcement action against those breaking the law” and the quest for ‘the highest environmental standards.”[3]

Environmental clean-ups have long been demanded of those polluting land but stringency in this regard is likely to increase, as Britain demonstrates its commitment to environmental excellence and best practice. Any firm storing or using oils, hazardous materials, or other substances that could leak or spill, as well as firms transporting substances that could fall from a lorry and leak, really should consider the costs and other penalties that could face them, should the environment be harmed in any way.

Environmental liability protection may be a cover that many more businesses need to consider, as the regulation net around environmental pollution extends and tightens. Practices ingrained within the organisation may no longer be in line with environmental laws and infringement could be relatively easy-to-do unless a firm’s management stay abreast of all laws and guidelines. To find a broker who can assist you with your environmental liability protection, please use our ‘Find a Local Broker’ tool.