Temporary Guidance re Drivers (COVID-19 UK)

UPDATE : the government instructions (dated 20 March) are here

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) bulletin service issued a notice re drivers on temporary arrangements for hours of work and access to welfare facilities – here

(1) All drivers must have access to welfare facilities in the premises they visit as part of their work.

More information is here

(2) The Department for Transport (DfT) announced a temporary and limited relaxation of the enforcement of drivers’ hours rules in England, Scotland, and Wales for the drivers of vehicles involved in the delivery of:

• food

• non-food (personal care and household paper and cleaning)

• over the counter pharmaceuticals

Driver safety must not be compromised, and they should not be expected to drive whilst tired.  Employers remain responsible for the health and safety of their employees, other road users, and anyone involved in loading and unloading vehicles.

Further information is here

Freight transport COVID-19 guidance is here

UK-EU CFTA (UK Brexit)

I posted earlier about the UK policy paper published on its proposed Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) with the EU.

Note : the UK government has since notified it does not wish to seek continued relationship with EASA (the EU’s aviation safety regulator) or EWRS (the EU’s early warning and response system), and it will not seek a waiver from the EU’s safety and security declarations. Accordingly, it envisages (and has notified relevant GB business via stakeholder notice, reported in the Daily Telegraph this morning) the EU will implement the UCC safety and security requirements on GB-EU trade. The UK will set its own requirements.

These EASA and EWRS aspects were already reported in the press.

The extract published by the Daily Telegraph’s Peter Foster (twitter) indicates the UK’s Border Delivery Group (BDG) expects to publish further on the matter of safety and security declarations at the end of March.

Please remember, different arrangements will apply in Northern Ireland.

This Blog does not focus on customs, vat or tariffs.

International Road Haulage (UK Brexit)

The UK Road Haulage Association (RHA) expects no cabotage from 1st January 2021. It recommends UK firms start preparing for the ending of cabotage from January 2021.

The RHA has updated its Brexit Operator Checklist – here. Please review.

Whilst some aspects are listed as “subject to negotiation”, a number of line entries in the Checklist are now more specific. This reflects announcements made by the UK Government and the EU Commission.

Freeports Consultation (UK Brexit)

Yesterday (10th Feb) the UK government announced the start of its consultation on its plan to create 10 freeports in locations across the UK.

The consultation deadline is 20th April.

The Freeports consultation document (UK’s Freeports policy) is here.

The consultation includes policies which relate to the whole of the UK, as well as some which are devolved. Where a policy is devolved, the proposals in the consultation apply to England; responsibility for policy development and implementation in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland lies with the devolved administrations. The document states the –

UK Government intends to work in partnership with the devolved administrations to develop proposals which enable the creation of Freeports in all nations of the UK.

(1) Tariffs and Customs – Customs and tariffs policy is reserved to the UK Government. The opportunity for customs and tariff benefits would be available UK-wide.

(2) Tax – Some aspects of tax policy are devolved in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. This section consults on tax policies which vary in scope, with some applying UK wide, some in England and Northern Ireland, and others in England only.

(3) Planning – Proposals on permitted development rights and zonal planning relate to England only. Proposals on the National Policy Statement for Ports relate to England and Wales.

(4) Regeneration – Infrastructure, skills and housing are devolved matters and the proposals cover England only. Trade and investment promotion is a “concurrent” power. This means that whilst the UK Government has primacy over trade and investment promotion in the UK, the devolved administrations also pursue promotion activity on behalf of businesses in their nations.

(5) Innovation – Innovation policy is UK wide; although some aspects of university funding are devolved matters, we hope to hear from stakeholders across the UK on these proposals.

The summary of questions is on page 40 of the document’s 48 pages.

For example, Q1 asks To what extent do you agree/disagree that the reduced declaration requirements for moving goods into a Freeport represent a useful simplification of the administration of customs processes?

Note the UK government announcement yesterday of the return of physical border checks and paperwork for EU goods imports from 1st Jan 2021 (Blog post yesterday).

Q8 asks What do you see as the advantages and/or disadvantages of an inland Freeport site compared to a Freeport site which is adjacent to a port?

Q11 asks To what extent would the suspension of import VAT be of value to your business?

Note yesterday’s UK government press release did not confirm the VAT deferral scheme.

Environment Bill (published) – Part 4 (England & UK Part)

The Bill is here. 130 Clauses in 8 Parts, and 20 Schedules.

The Explanatory Memorandum is here.

The Environment Bill (“the Bill”) is comprised of two thematic halves.

(1) A legal framework for environmental governance once the UK leaves the EU.

This was earlier published in part as the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill on 19 December 2018, fulfilling a legal obligation set out in section 16 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. The measures published at that time related only to environmental principles and governance, and placing the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan on a statutory footing.

I posted two Blog posts about this (Brexit) – one on Parts 1&2 and one on the Environment Bill changing UK REACH (Brexit Law).

(2) Provision for specific improvement of the environment, including measures on waste and resource efficiency, air quality and environmental recall, water, nature and biodiversity, and conservation covenants.

SPECIFIC IMPROVEMENT of the ENVIRONMENT

Part 4 – Air Quality and Environmental Recall Part of the Environment Bill – includes –

amending Part IV of the Environment Act 1995 (which creates the Local Air Quality Management Framework) to strengthen the requirements in respect of the National Air Quality Strategy, including a requirement for it to be regularly reviewed;

amending the Local Air Quality Management Framework to clarify duties and enable greater cooperation between different levels of local government, and other relevant public bodies, in the preparation of Local Air Quality Action Plans;

amending Part III of the Clean Air Act 1993 to enable quicker, simpler and more proportionate enforcement of Smoke Control Areas, a key means by which local authorities can control pollution from domestic solid fuel burning;

Specifically – Schedule 13 would amend the Clean Air Act 1993 to give local authorities the power to impose financial penalties for the emission of smoke in smoke control areas (SCAs) in England. This means that the emission of smoke from a chimney of a building or a chimney (not being a chimney of a building) that serves the furnace of any fixed boiler or industrial plant in an SCA in England will change from being a criminal offence to instead being subject to a civil penalty notice (a fine).

The change will remove the current statutory defences that are making enforcement by local authorities very challenging, and reduce the burden and cost associated with enforcing SCAs.

– amending Part III of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 (EPA) to remove the private dwelling exemption (from statutory nuisance enforcement), enabling a local authority in England to pursue somebody who emits smoke from a private dwelling in a Smoke Control Area where it is prejudicial to human health or causing a nuisance.

– removing the limit on the fine for the offence of selling controlled solid fuels for delivery (leaving it to the discretion of the Magistrate’s Court), and creating a new duty on retailers to notify customers of the law regarding the acquisition of controlled solid fuels in England, to help raise consumer awareness and improve compliance.

providing for mandatory recall notices for vehicles and equipment that do not comply with relevant environmental standards and for fines to be issued when a minimum recall rate is not met.

As a Bill, this document would need to pass both Houses of Parliament to enter the statute books. You note, I pegged this as England.

However, some Clauses are intended to have effect outside England – see page 194 of the Explanatory Memorandum which has a table.

If the Bill enters the statute books, the provisions then need to be commenced, some may be commenced immediately, such as those that are needed directly for EU Exit, but there could be a substantive delay in the commencement of other Part, such as Part 4.

I will issue further Blog posts, please look out for them.

Company Vehicles & Plastic Cotton Buds (Scotland)

The Scottish Government has introduced the following 2 laws :

(1) The Environmental Protection (Cotton Buds) (Scotland) Regulations 2019 – here.

In force from 12th October 2019, they ban the manufacture and sale of plastic stemmed cotton buds in Scotland.

(2) The Transport (Scotland) Act 2019 – here.

This Act introduces low emission zones and workplace parking licensing (Section 4A). Note the consultation provisions.

These laws will be in the next Scotland Email Alert, and will be introduced onto subscribers’ systems shortly.

UK Temporary Import Tariff Regime (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (this date is in a Statutory Instrument)

Today (8th October) the UK republished it’s temporary Import Tariff Regime that will apply in a no-deal Brexit.

Here

[this Blog does not focus on Customs or VAT]

It is mostly unchanged from the March version. Three aspects have changes – affecting HGVs, bioethanol and clothing –

• lower tariffs on HGVs entering the UK market, striking a better balance between the needs of British producers and the SMEs that make up the UK haulage industry, ensuring that crucial fleet replacement programmes that help to lower carbon emissions can continue

• adjusted tariffs on bioethanol to retain support for UK producers, as the supply of this fuel is important to critical national infrastructure

• tariffs applied to additional clothing products to ensure the preferential access to the UK market currently available to developing countries (compared to other countries) is maintained.

Update on GB stickers (NI Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October (for the moment)

I posted yesterday with Warning re Get Ready Brexit Checker, and I said the reader should check in-country (the receiving country).

Statement from @deptinfra on GB stickers (posted by @DarranMarshal, twitter)

“The requirement that all UK motorists driving in Ireland should display a GB sticker stems from the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. It is not an EU requirement & is not affected by Brexit.”

UK Get Ready Brexit Checker says all UK vehicles will be required to have a GB sticker when travelling in the Republic post Brexit.

Northern Ireland’s Department of Infrastructure statement:

“We are not aware of any occasion when this has been enforced by the Irish government.”

EU Fuel VAT reclaim (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October

This Blog does not cover Customs and Excise. The information below comes from the Road Haulage Association (RHA) – here.

UK based International Operators will still be able to claim refunds of VAT on fuel bought in EU member states.

Follow the processes for non-EU countries to do the claim.

EU information is here.

Check with individual EU countries.

Some EU countries may require the appointment of an in-country tax representative to obtain the refunds.

International Road Haulage (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October.

Instructions are now updated re International Road Haulage –

(1) EC Community Licences for International Haulage – here.

(2) International Road Haulage : operator licences and permits – here.

(3) ECMT international road haulage permits – here.

The instruction states (correctly) – most international journeys can be completed until 31 December 2019 without ECMT permit.

The instruction does not state, however, this is due to an EU temporary Brexit waiver rule. The instruction makes no mention of applying to the EU to roll this over.

(4) Carry out international road haulage after Brexit – here.