With effect from 1 April the Government transferred from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS) to DEFRA policy responsibility for Producer responsibility regimes such as those for Waste Electrical & Electronic Equipment (WEEE), End-of-life Vehicles, Batteries & Accumulators and Restriction of Hazardous Substances in Electrical & Electronic Equipment (RoHS).
The Wales Bill, which obtained its first reading on 7 June, will devolve further powers to the Welsh Assembly Government. These include responsibilities in respect of considering and granting applications for consent for energy projects with a generating capacity of 50MW-350MW, and the licensing of onshore wind projects and onshore oil and gas exploration. The Welsh Assembly will also have new powers to legislate on sewerage.
Earlier this year the Welsh Assembly passed the Environment (Wales) Act which deals with the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources, Action on Climate Change in Wales, Powers to extend charging for carrier bags, Waste Recycling, Regulation of fisheries for shellfish, and Marine Licensing.
Increasing divergence between the laws in force in Wales, and those in England on matters within the remit of the Welsh Assembly is creating increasing difficulties in terms of the accessibility of Welsh Law, particularly where the Welsh legislation (which is bilingual) consists of amendments to an existing English text which is held on a common database.