Carbon Emissions Tax (UK Brexit)

I posted before about a carbon emissions tax being introduced in the event the UK access to the EUETS (the EU Emissions Trading System) is discontinued following Brexit.

The Finance (No. 3) Bill, out for Royal Assent, makes provision for this. Once enacted, the Act will be added to the Brexit Law List (in subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists systems).

An information note is also published, here.

This note identifies that a Carbon Emissions Tax is one option being pursued by the UK Government.

The note sets out how the new Carbon Emissions Tax would operate.

The existing CCL is unaffected.

The new Carbon Emissions Tax will come into force via separate statutory instrument.

Brexit Status – next steps (UK Brexit)

Exit day is currently set as 12pm CET 29th March 2019.

Yesterday, the UK Parliament voted down the Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration package that had been agreed between the EU and UK to provide for an orderly exit.

On the UK side, although some laws are on the statute book, there is still substantive Brexit legislation that only exists in draft form, or not at all. But UK Technical Notices are published, and some Government ministries have issued more detailed information, notably HMRC, the Department for Transport, and the Home Office. Blog posts set these out (category UK Brexit Notices).

Subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists have a continually updating Brexit Law List loaded to their UK systems (or jurisdictional UK variants).

On the EU side, EU Brexit Preparedness Notices are issued, and a Contingency Plan is in place, with a useful Q&A. Blog posts set these out (category EU Brexit Notices).

The international EU-UK land border is on the island of Ireland. I posted recently on Ireland’s Brexit Preparedness. An omnibus bill of measures will be introduced shortly. I updated my Blog post online, please scroll down the latest posts.

Next steps :

(1) today, the UK Government faces a no confidence motion, which it is expected to win

(2) Monday will see the UK Prime Minister give a statement to Parliament

(3) the next days will see the UK Government explore other sorts of arrangements for an orderly exit, and it is possible the exit day could be put back to give more time.

I will issue a new Blog post next week, with any progress made.

As I said in recent Blog posts, if subscribers to the Cardinal systems wish to set up a Brexit telecon with me, to run through specifics, please email me. At the moment, I am holding these telecoms at no extra charge.

New Air Quality Strategy (England)

DEFRA has today published its new Air Quality Strategy, for England (most aspects of air quality management are devolved matters). This document is here.

Scotland already has its own Air Quality Strategy, information is here. Wales and Northern Ireland are developing theirs.

The England document states :

(1) New legislation will create a stronger and more coherent framework. (This will be contained in the Environment Bill, which is not yet published save for the governance aspects).

(2) New England-wide powers will control major sources of pollution (some aspects listed below).

(3) New local powers will enable action in areas with an air pollution problem, including powers to create Clean Air Zones for all air pollution sources, in the Environment Bill, not just smoke, as exists currently (under the existing Clean Air Act).

(4) A commitment to bring all national and local monitoring data into a single online portal. Currently an online portal, with trigger alerts, exists for the London area.

(5) A commitment to publish a new target for fine particulates PM2.5, and evidence (early in 2019) on the action needed to achieve the WHO target of 10 micrograms per metre cubed. Note, the EU limit of 25 micrograms per metre cubed is met, and the second stage target of 20 micrograms per metre cubed is on target (the document states) for 2020.

(6) A commitment to provide a personal messaging system (see above comment re the London alert system).

(7) A commitment to creating a new target for reducing deposited reactive nitrogen (a target is specified).

(8) New legislation will compel manufacturers to recall non-road mobile machinery for failures in emissions control technology (this legislation is not yet published).

(9) New legislation will ban the sale of the most polluting fuels.

(10) Changes will be made to existing smoke control legislation, via the Environment Bill, to improve enforcement.

(11) Medium combustion plant emission standards will be reviewed.

(12) A National Air Pollution Control Programme will be developed with the devolved governments (as required by the EU National Emissions Ceilings Directive) for publication in 2019.

The above is a selection only, there are further commitments in the document itself.

Brexit Law and EU Retained Law (Cardinal Environment Services)

I have posted before that subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Law Checklists have added to their systems, a continually compiled Brexit Law List.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 retains EU law enacted at the exit date, and section 8 of the 2018 Act gives powers to make adjustments in order that this EU Retained Law will operate in the UK after the exit date. These adjustments will be made via Statutory Instruments (Regulations) issued with brackets (EU Exit) in the title, generally. The Brexit Law List compiles OHS and ENV related (EU Exit) Instruments, and others.

It is clear that at least some of the (EU Exit) Instruments amend actual EU Regulations as they apply in the UK. To avoid confusion, we will not consolidate those amendments into the base document, until further on in the Brexit process. Instead we will show the (EU Exit) instrument beneath the EU Regulation as a companion, when we populate out the documents into the Registers from the Brexit Law List.

In due course, further on in the Brexit process, these Retained EU Laws will become England Retained EU Law (consolidated) and ditto other national variants.

An example of an (EU Exit) instrument is here.

Brexit Status (20 Dec 2018) (UK and EU)

Today, less than 100 days remain before exit day.

The EU has published Brexit Preparedness Notices, a proposed Contingency Action Plan, proposed Implementation of the Contingency Action Plan (which has further measures), and a Q&A about the Contingency Action Plan. This information is found here.

Please check all parts of the EU information.

The UK has published Technical Notices, and republished some of these yesterday with some updates. This information is here.

Please check all parts of the UK information, ignore the update date at the head of the page, scroll down and the update position of each document is visible.

In addition, ECHA, HMRC, the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Transport, and HSE, have each published additional guidance. Please check in the categories Chemicals, UK Brexit Notices and EU Brexit Notices, on this Blog.

In addition, Brexit laws are being proposed and enacted at UK level and also at EU level. The continually updating Brexit Law List (of global OHS and ENV) is added to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists.

In summary : (if there is no deal) so far – (main points)

(1) air service agreements are in place with certain countries

(2) plans are in place to stockpile medicines

(3) membership of the Common Transit Convention is negotiated – this facilitates cross-border trade, but does not remove the need for all checks

(4) UK air service providers will be permitted to fly between the UK and an EU destination, but they will not be allowed to fly between EU27 cities

(5) on financial services, the Commission is granting ‘equivalence’ in a very limited number of areas, for a period of up to 24 months, and I posted about other limited arrangements that are granted. This will not fully remove the need for some firms to reregister their services with an EU regulator – and the decision could be unilaterally revoked by the Commission at any point

[financial services are beyond the scope of this Blog]

(6) the EU will allow UK hauliers to enter the EU, to continue transporting goods (provided this is reciprocal) – meaning they will not need to apply for the limited number of alternative permits available – but that only runs for nine months

[I corrected my post online, because I had initially said more permits would be available]

(7) the EU has said UK exports will face EU tariffs as with any third country. UK exporters will also be required to go through full customs processes, which the Commission stresses member states need to be ready to manage. The UK is writing to companies with further information on the steps they must take, some members states are also enacting legislation and engaging with companies.

(8) the Swiss existing trade agreement (with the EU) is now rolled-over

(9) HSE will take over from ECHA on REACH – the UK will operate its own chemicals system

(10) the Environment Agency will handle F-gas and ODS quotas

(11) the UK yesterday published its immigration white paper (a single system will be put in place from 2021, this single system will extend the non-EU nationals system to EU and EEA nationals with some tweaks)

[the UK has or is in the last stages of agreements with the EEA and EFTA states – people (outside of occupational health and safety) aspects are beyond the scope of this Blog]

UPDATE (20 Dec 2018) – the EEA EFTA separation agreement covers withdrawal aspects wider than people. The document is here.

UPDATE (20 Dec 2018) – the Immigration bill is here. (it’s very short and narrowly drawn, it ends free movement and confirms rights for Irish nationals)

(12) the UK will withdraw its experts from Seville, and issue its own UK version of BATC documents (industrial emissions control)

(13) participation in EUETS will not be possible, and the UK will put in place a carbon tax

(14) the UK has laid Fisheries and Agriculture bills, and the UK will imminently lay the governance and principles part of the new Environment bill – the UK will operate its own fisheries, agriculture, and environment systems

(15) UPDATE (20 Dec 2018) Leo Varadkar (Irish Taoiseach) today says a hard border would not be an immediacy in the case of ‘no deal’ because the UK/NI would still (at 11:01pm on March 29) still be in alignment with EU/RoI customs and regulations, and a border would only be necessitated by divergence.

(16) UPDATE (29 Dec 2018) UK-US bi-lateral agreed (insurance and re-insurance) to replace the EU arrangement – here.

I am offering subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists opportunities to discuss Brexit with me in 2019 (additional to Annual Reviews). Please email me.

I wish everyone a very Happy Christmas!