Chemicals Legislation

Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic 1992 (OSPAR Convention)  The 1992 OSPAR Convention guides international cooperation on the protection of the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic. It provides for stringent measures to be adopted with respect to the prevention and elimination of marine pollution and the protection of the marine environment. Under the Convention the Offshore Oil and Gas Industry Strategy sets the objective of preventing and eliminating pollution and taking the necessary measures to protect the maritime area against the adverse effects of offshore activities so as to safeguard human health and of conserving marine ecosystems and, when practicable, restoring marine areas which have been adversely affected. Adoption of Annex V in 1998, saw the convention embrace a more holistic responsibility for environmental protection of the north east Atlantic, including its diverse biodiversity.  The OSPAR Convention entered into force on 25 March 1998.
International Convention on the Control of Harmful Anti-fouling Systems on Ships 2001 This Convention included a control measure that ships must not apply or re-apply organotin compounds which act as biocides in anti-fouling systems from 1 January 2003. From 1 January 2008, all ships are required to either not have organotin systems on their hulls or external parts, or have a sealer coat to prevent it leaching out. The UK are in the process of accession to this Convention (see MIN 370 (M+F)).
OSPAR Decision 2000/3 on the Use of Organic-phase Drilling Fluids (OPF) and the Discharge of OPF-Contaminated Cuttings OSPAR Decision 2000/3 that came into effect on 16 January 2001 effectively eliminates the discharge of organic phase fluids (OPF) (oil based (OBM) or synthetic based (SBM) drilling fluids) or cuttings contaminated with these fluids. Use of OPF is still allowed provided total containment is operated. The use of diesel-oil-based drilling fluids is prohibited. The discharge of whole OPF to the sea is prohibited. The mixing of OPF with cuttings for the purpose of disposal is not acceptable. The discharge of cuttings contaminated with oil based fluids (OBF) (includes OBM and SBM) greater than 1% by weight on dry cuttings is prohibited. The use of OPF in the upper part of the well is prohibited. Exemptions may be granted by the national competent authority for geological or safety reasons. The discharge into the sea of cuttings contaminated with synthetic fluids will only be authorised in exceptional circumstances. Authorisations to be based on the application of BAT/BEP. Best Available Techniques described within the Decision include recycling, recovery and reuse of muds.
OSPAR Decision 2000/2 on a harmonised mandatory control system for the use and reduction of the discharge of offshore chemicals as amended by OSPAR Decision 2005/1 This Decision entered into force on 16 January 2001 and superseded: PARCOM Decision 96/3 on a Harmonized Mandatory Control System for the Use and Reduction of the Discharge of Offshore Chemicals, and b. PARCOM Decision 97/1 on Substances/Preparations Used and Discharged Offshore.
OSPAR Recommendation 2010/3 on a Harmonised Offshore Chemical Notification Format (HOCNF) The purpose of the Harmonised Offshore Chemical Notification Format (HOCNF) is to provide authorities with data and information about chemicals to be used and discharged offshore, to enable the authorities to take the appropriate regulatory action in accordance with the scope of OSPAR Decision 2000/2. This Recommendation came into force on 1 January 2011 with the prospect of further review at a later date.
OSPAR Recommendation 2017/01 on a Harmonised Pre-Screening Scheme for Offshore Chemicals Pre-screening is necessary in allowing authorities to identify substances intended for use, or used in, offshore chemicals with the aim of substituting those substances which are hazardous for more environmentally friendly chemicals or components contained within. This Recommendation supersedes Recommendation 2016/4 with the prospect of further review at a later date.
OSPAR Recommendation 2006/3 on Environmental Goals for the Discharge by the Offshore Industry of Chemicals that are, or which contain Substances Identified as Candidates for Substitution The OSPAR Convention (in particular Annex III) is the main driver for reductions in oily discharges to the North Sea. The UK as a contracting party to the Convention is therefore obliged to implement any Decisions and Recommendations made by the Commissions. Certain decisions made under the earlier Paris Convention also still stand. The purpose of this Recommendation is to set an environmental goal for the discharge of offshore chemicals that are, or which contain substances identified as candidates for substitution, in order to set a specific time-frame for moving towards the cessation of these discharges from offshore installations.

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Deposits in the Sea (Exemptions) Order 1985 A licence is required under FEPA for any waste disposal in the sea or under the seabed. However, the Deposits in the Sea (Exemptions) Order 1985 exempts from FEPA licensing the deposit on site or under the seabed of; any chemicals, drill cuttings or drilling muds in the course of the drilling or production operation etc. This Order came into force on 1 January 1986.
Food and Environment Protection Act 1985 (FEPA) Initially coming into force in January 1986, the Food and Environmental Protection Act (FEPA), Part II Deposits in the Sea, used to cover the discharge or placement of substances or articles in the sea or on the seabed where the deposits could not be covered by other legislation. However, following the introduction of the licensing provisions of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (6 April 2011), it was dis-applied in English and Welsh waters and offshore waters adjacent to Scotland. FEPA Part II, however is still applicable to Scottish territorial waters, between the three nautical miles of Scottish controlled waters limit and the 12 nautical miles Scottish territorial sea limit, where DECC will remain the licensing authority. For activities within Scottish controlled waters, the Scottish Government is the licensing authority and the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 is the relevant controlling legislation. The majority of offshore energy activities relating to oil and gas exploration/production and gas unloading and storage are controlled under the Petroleum Act 1998 (as amended) or the Energy Act 2008, and are specifically excluded from the marine licensing provisions of both the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCAA) and the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (MSA).
Offshore Chemical Notification Scheme (OCNS) The Offshore Chemical Notification Scheme (OCNS), which originally came into force on 15 May 2002, manages chemical use and discharge by the UK and Netherlands offshore petroleum operators. The OCNS uses the OSPAR Harmonised Mandatory Control Scheme (HMCS) developed through OSPAR Decision 2002/2 and its supporting recommendations.
The Classification, Labelling and Packaging of Chemicals (Amendments to Secondary Legislation) Regulations 2015 These Regulations came fully into force on 1 June 2015 and apply to England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Provisions relating to extent and amendments to the Biocidal Products and Chemicals (Appointment of Authorities and Enforcement) Regulations 2013 came into force on 31 May 2015. They amend various pieces of legislation arising from changes to the legislation at European level that regulates the classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals. Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures comes fully into force on 1 June 2015, which has brought about the need for amendments.

The Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and other Dangerous Substances) (Scotland) Regulations 2000

The Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and other Dangerous Substances) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000

The Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and other Dangerous Substances) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2000

These regulations implement EC Directive 96/59/EC (16 September 1996) on the disposal of polychlorinated biphenyls and polychlorinated terphenyls in the UK – Scotland (8 May 2000) and England and Wales (4 May 2000). The England and Wales Amendment of 2000, came into force on 1 January 2001. Equipment containing PCBs is now required to be identified, registered, labelled and disposed of and decontaminated. The following substances are covered in the definition of PCBs, but only those containing substances in a total of more than 0.005% by weight (equivalent to 50 ppm): Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs); Polychlorinated Terphenyls (PCT); Monomethyl-dibromo-diphenyl methane; Monomethyl-dichloro-diphenyl methane; and Monomethyl-tetrachlorodiphenyl methane.

The Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and other Dangerous Substances) (England and Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 amend regulation 4 of the Environmental Protection (Disposal of Polychlorinated Biphenyls and other Dangerous Substances) (England and Wales) Regulations 2000. They provide that Member States shall identify and remove from use equipment (e.g. transformers, capacitors or other receptacles containing liquid stocks) containing more than 0.005 % PCBs and volumes greater than 0.05 dm3, as soon as possible but no later than 31st December 2025.

The Merchant Shipping (Anti-Fouling Systems) Regulations 2009 These Regulations ensure that the necessary enforcement provisions are in place in the UK to give effect to European Regulation (EC) No 782/2003 on the prohibition of organotin compounds on ships. This Regulation prohibits ships from having organotin compound based anti-fouling paints applied to their hulls or other external surfaces, and it establishes a survey and certification regime in relation to anti-fouling systems. These Regulations came into force on 1 December 2009. Marine Guidance Note 398 (M+F) provides guidance on the requirements of these regulations.
The Merchant Shipping (Implementation of Ship-Source Pollution Directive) Regulations 2009 These Regulations implement EU Directive 2005/35/EEC in ship-source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringement, through amendment of the 1996 NLS Regulations and the Merchant Shipping Act 1995. The Regulations limit the defences available to the master or owner of a ship involved in an oil spill or chemical spill and extend liability for the discharge to others such as charterers and classification societies. This closed a loop hole in the existing legislation where some large spills were not open to prosecution under MARPOL. These Regulations entered force on 1 July 2009.
The Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution from Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk) Regulations 2018 The Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution from Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk) Regulations 2018 contain provisions to prevent the discharge of dangerous or noxious liquid substances in the sea, especially for ships carrying substances in bulk. These regulations implement Annex 2 of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973. These were amended by The Merchant Shipping (Prevention of Pollution from Noxious Liquid Substances in Bulk and Prevention of Oil Pollution) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 to include amendments to the codes and guidelines that vessels should follow, clarify that the ban on discharging noxious liquid substances also refers to offshore support vessels and allow for a cargo record book to be in electronic format.
The Offshore Chemicals (Amendment) Regulations 2011 The Offshore Chemicals (Amendment) Regulations came into force in March 2011 and clarify the status of accidental releases and the reporting procedure for PON1s. The key changes to the regulations are: clearer distinction and definition between intentional (operational) discharges and accidental releases. This will for example, clarify treatment of leaks, particularly in relation to “open” hydraulic fluid systems and the use of leak detection and leak sealant chemicals; a new Regulation 3A is included which prohibits any person from releasing an offshore chemical or allowing such a release to continue and to make the contravention of this provision an offence under Regulation 18 of the 2002 Regulations; the Regulations widen the circumstances in which a person can be prosecuted for emitting an offshore chemical so that an intentional emission (i.e. a discharge) will only be lawful if made within the terms and conditions attached to a permit, and any other emission (i.e. a release) will be unlawful; Regulation 7(b) amends Regulation 5(2)(d) so that conditions of permits can require necessary measure to be taken to prevent or limit the consequences of any incidents affecting the environment, not merely those arising by accident; Regulations 9(b) and 10(b)(ii) remove the requirements to consult the Centre for Environment Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, the Fisheries Research Service and states who are party to the OSPAR Convention in relation to the renewal or variation of a permit; Regulation 12 inserts a new Regulation 12a to establish a process for the transfer of a permit from one holder to another; Regulation 15 extends the circumstances in which a person may be required to provide information to the Secretary of State about the emission and use of offshore chemicals; Regulations 17 and 18 extend the circumstances in which enforcement and prohibition notices can be served to include any release of an offshore chemical or its use or discharge without a permit. Changes are also made to the period within which remedial steps are to be taken under an enforcement or prohibition notice. This aligns enforcement processes for OCR and OPPC (e.g. powers to prevent releases, enforcement notices, prohibition notices and offences); and Regulation 20 amends provision in relation to offences and makes a number of qualifications regarding defences.
The Offshore Installations (Emergency Pollution Control) Regulations 2002 These Regulations, which came into force in 2002, give the Government power to intervene in the event of an incident involving an offshore installation where there is, or may be a risk of significant pollution, or where an operator has failed to implement proper control and preventative measures. These Regulations apply to chemical and oil spills.
The Persistent Organic Pollutants Regulations 2007 These Regulations control the production and use of certain persistent organic pollutants (e.g. PCBs and PAHs). Requirements include controls on use and waste handling/disposal of products containing such components. Controls on use/discharge will be managed through the existing CEFAS registration scheme under the Offshore Chemical Regulations 2002. These Regulations came into force on 3 December 2007.
The Persistent Organic Pollutants (Various Amendments) Regulations 2019 These regulations amend various pieces of legislation in accordance with Regulation (EU) 2019/1021 when it replaced Regulation (EC) 850/2004.
This legislation amends:

The REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008 as amended

 The REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008 provide the regulatory framework for the implementation of EU Regulation 1907/2006 on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) in the UK. The UK REACH Regulations apply to all offshore installations but not ships.

EU Regulation 1907/2006 has been retained in the UK through the European (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The retained Regulation 1907/2006 was amended in the UK by The Reach etc. (Amendment) Regulations 2021 to ensure that it operates effectively in the UK.

The REACH (Amendment) Regulations 2023 The REACH (Amendment) Regulations 2023 amend UK REACH Regulations, as per retained EU law, by extending the time required to submit information by a further three years, and also extend the statutory timelines for HSE to carry out compliance checks.