2022: the year of transition

Environmental predictions for the year ahead.

In a turbulent world it is difficult to make predictions on what 2022 will bring. However, there are some certainties, largely driven by the Global climate crisis and the increasing pressure on businesses to set out their plans to decarbonise their operations.

Net-Zero 2050

Many sectors have begun to mark out lines in the sand with their ambitions to achieve Net-Zero sector wide such as the water industry by 2030 and transport and logistics by 2040. The legal requirement to achieve Net-Zero by 2050 is also causing sectors to clamp down on its supply chain. The MOD for example has mandated that any organisation tendering for work over £5m in value must have a Net-Zero strategy for its organisation.   

The best place to start for any organisation looking to implement Net-Zero across its operation is to establish a baseline with an energy audit of its current operations. Without this it will be very difficult to plan the journey to Net-Zero. We launched a new service in 2021 to identify this baseline energy usage and support businesses to create achievable, measurable targets. Read more about this service here.

Environment Act

The Environment Act passed into law in late 2021 following a tumultuous journey through Parliament. Legally binding targets associated with the Act will be set in late 2022 on air quality, biodiversity, water, resource efficiency, and waste reduction.

Water

The Act contains a new duty on water companies and the Environment Agency to publish data on storm overflow operation on an annual basis and monitor the water quality upstream and downstream of storm overflows and sewage disposal works.

In a last minute amend to the Act, there is now a legal duty on water companies to “progressively reduce the impacts of sewage pollution from storm overflows”. To drive this, Ofwat can issue enforcement notices that can direct specific actions or fine companies up to 10% of their annual turnover if they do not see sufficient progress from water companies.

We expect to work with the water companies on devising and implementing solutions in these areas throughout 2022.

Waste

The Act introduces extended producer responsibility (EPR) which means manufacturers will now be required to contribute to the disposal costs of the products they produce. By shifting these costs onto manufacturers, they will be forced to consider the design of their products to make them easier to recycle.

A new service will go live in 2023/24 allowing the Government to also introduce a digital system to track waste movements and clamp down on waste crime. We expect to see preparations for this new system to begin in 2022.

Stricter legislation on hydrocarbon assets

As businesses transition to low carbon technology, we expect to see tighter regulation protecting hydrocarbon assets with an emphasis on reducing the risk of pollution. We will see greater regulation around separator maintenance in the Ciria legislation. Aligned to this we expect to see the regulators taking a much harder stance on organisations who experience an incident and are unable to provide sufficient evidence of adhering to the standards and good practice around maintenance regimes.

Organisations are looking to increase the lifecycle of their existing assets until such a time as they may be decommissioned, making way for new energy technology. We can support your organisation to ensure your assets remain compliant, reducing the risk of pollution incident and operational downtime through 2022 and beyond.

Electric vehicle infrastructure

The consumer and legislative push towards electric vehicles will continue at pace in 2022 as organisations introduce company lease schemes and the Government mandates all new homes and businesses built to have EV chargepoint infrastructure installed. We predict a huge explosion in EV chargepoint infrastructure installation to take place across forecourts, leisure destination car parks, public sector spaces and office buildings next year.

A year of transition

As the world transitions its energy usage, organisations are considering how they maintain their existing assets until it is time to transition to the new. We will see more and more organisations expecting to see tangible Net-Zero strategies from companies on their preferred supplier lists. Likewise, more businesses will start their journey to Net-Zero by measuring their energy usage and setting targets. At the same time organisations continue to manage existing ageing infrastructure against new and evolving compliance regimes.