Persistent Organic Pollutants from 1st Jan (UK Brexit)

The UK has confirmed that it’s persistent organic pollutants (POPs) regulation system will continue in its current form after 1 January 2021.

The matter is presently addressed (for the EU27) by a 2019/1021 recast EU POPs Regulation that came into force in 2019. In the UK, this 2019 EU Regulation is retained as Retained EU Law, and a 2019 enacted Brexit EU Exit instrument makes the Retained EU document operate in the UK (see the Brexit Consolidated Law List in Subscribers systems).

The UK confirmation is here.

The UK notice confirms all existing obligation and protections will continue because the UK is a signatory to both the Stockholm Convention and the Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution. These Conventions are UNECE Conventions. The UK did not leave the UNECE (UN Economic Commission for Europe).

There is no change to the UK competent authorities.

Future updates will reflect Stockholm Convention decisions and agreed scientific and technical progress, and not necessarily changes to the EU POPs Regulation if it diverges.

Accordingly, subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers and Checklists – UK systems – will have both conventions added, where POPs are included in their UK systems. This is in addition to the necessary Retained EU Law.

The list of restricted, banned and monitored substances, with the exemptions, set out in the annexes to the current EU POPs Regulation will be amended this year (2020) to reflect decisions made at the last Stockholm Convention conference.

The Environment Agency is accordingly addressing changes pertinent to Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). The EA document is here.

These changes can be expected in amendments to existing domestic law.

The UK notice confirms identification of potential new POPs substances, with the exception of pesticides, will be managed initially through the UK chemicals regulatory regime that will replace EU REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) in the UK.

The UK notice confirms if all the characteristics of a POP emerge from the evidence gathering, the UK will develop a dossier for the Stockholm Convention’s POP Review Committee to assess.

Now that the UK has left the EU, this UK POPs notice confirms further changes to UK regulation of POPs will result from the review processes set up under UNECE Conventions.

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