Until 11 November 2020, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is consulting on the draft Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information Regulations 2021. The consultation asks stakeholders to comment on the ecodesign and energy labelling proposals, BEIS's assessment of the costs and benefits and the intended timetable for reviewing the draft regulations after they came into force, noted in each product-specific section.
The Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) recently announced its offer for the award of 113 licences over 259 blocks or part-blocks to 65 companies. Licences were awarded in the OGA's 32nd offshore licensing round, which was launched on 11 July 2019 and closed for applications on 12 November 2019. The 32nd round saw the offer of 768 blocks or part-blocks, with acreage on offer in the Central North Sea, the Northern North Sea, the Southern North Sea and the West of Shetlands.
August 2020 saw the publication of two documents which will have a significant bearing on developments in the oil and gas industry in the next decade and are closely related. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy published a response to its consultation on the reuse of oil and gas assets for carbon capture, usage and storage projects, while the Oil and Gas Authority published its final report on UK Continental Shelf energy integration.
The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy is consulting on the proposed Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration, Production, Unloading and Storage (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2020. The consultation proposes no radical reform to the current environmental impact assessment (EIA) procedures. That said, the consultation proposes detailed changes to the current regulations which, if and when in force, will need to be reflected in developers' EIA procedures.
A recent Technology and Construction Court decision has considered whether energy-from-waste plants fall within the power generation exemption in Section 105 of the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1998. Such plants have a dual purpose of disposing of waste and producing energy, but Section 105 requires a court to determine the "primary activity" on such sites.
EE Limited v Edelwind Limited is another in the increasing line of cases concerning the operation of the Electronic Communications Code, contained in Schedule 3A to the Communications Act 2003. This one, before the Upper Tribunal, concerned the code's provisions governing the service of a notice to terminate a code agreement in terms of when and on whom the notice should be served.
In a recent judicial review appeal, the Inner House considered the application of Section 104 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act, which deals with consultation in respect of disposing and changing the use of common good property. The petition was for judicial review of the Angus Council's decision to demolish a leisure centre which had been erected on common good land.
A recent Supreme Court case has clarified the law around challenges to covenants which seek to limit the use of land. The case involved an appeal by a retail anchor tenant against its landlord, which had sought to challenge a restrictive covenant in the lease which prevented it from letting space to businesses that competed with the tenant. The landlord sought to argue that the covenant was unenforceable as it fell within the doctrine of restraint of trade.
The government recently published a draft Building Safety Bill as part of its commitment to overhaul fire safety regulation in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in 2017, which claimed 72 lives. The draft bill is the latest in a series of actions that the government has taken to improve fire safety in high-rise residential buildings, including the introduction of the Fire Safety Bill.
The government considers that better data on land ownership and control is required to achieve its vision for the planning system, improve the development process and increase the public's understanding of who exercises control over land. The government's particular focus is on rights of pre-emption, options and conditional contracts, and it has published a consultation seeking views on how best to improve transparency around them and what additional data should be made public.