Trader Support Service (Northern Ireland)

HMRC today advises the Trader Support Service is now available to be signed up to.

The Trader Support Service is established to assist persons moving goods between GB and Northern Ireland.

The Sign Up is here (on the Trader Support Service website).

The HMRC announcement is here.

Self-Isolation Guidance for COVID-19 Contacts (England)

I posted earlier this morning about the new legal duty to self-isolate that applies in England.

In addition to updated Guidance for households, linked to that post, Public Health England has also issued Guidance for COVID-19 Contacts (who are not Household Members) – here.

Note the new law sets out legal duties for notified persons – these are the person who tested positive (and that person must supply the names of their household) and their contacts meeting the definition of having been in close contact. The law does not set out legal duties for household members. In practice, household members and close contacts might be difficult to distinguish.

Guidance now exists for

– Households – here.

– Contacts – here.

Public Health England definition of ‘contact’ is not the same as ‘close contact’ set out in the England self-isolation law.

If you are a contact of someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, then you will be notified by the NHS Test and Trace service via text message, email or phone. If you are notified, please follow the guidance in this document closely.

If you have not been notified that you are a contact, this means you do not need to self-isolate and should follow the general guidance, for example, social distancing, hand-washing, and covering coughs and sneezes.

REACH Chemical Legislation (UK Brexit)

On 1 September, DEFRA updated its existing webpage guidance for – How to comply with the EU’s REACH chemical regulations when using, making, selling or importing chemicals in the EU, and how to prepare for 1 January 2021 – here.

Per the webpage –

UK REACH, the UK’s independent chemicals regulatory framework, starts on 1 January 2021. Anyone making, selling or distributing chemicals in the UK and the EU needs to follow UK REACH and EU REACH rules.

UK REACH will maintain EU REACH’s aims and principles. These include:

• the “no data, no market” principle

• the “last resort” principle on animal testing

• access to information for workers

• the precautionary principle

The government intends to extend the deadlines for submitting data under UK REACH transitional provisions subject to scrutiny by parliament and the devolved administrations. This guidance includes these extension dates rather than those currently provided in UK REACH legislation.

Please note the new deadlines in the DEFRA updated webpage.

GB-based companies currently registered with EU REACH will no longer be able to sell into the EEA market without transferring their registrations to an EU/EEA-based organisation. This registration transfer stipulation is set out in the EU instruction notice – here.

Registration transfer to an EU/EEA-based Organisation will not apply in Northern Ireland. We await confirmation on the application of UK REACH in Northern Ireland.

Per the webpage –

Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the process for Northern Ireland businesses moving goods to and from the European Union under EU REACH will not change from 1 January 2021. Further guidance will be published for NI businesses moving goods into the GB market.

EU REACH registrations held by UK-based companies will carry across directly into UK REACH, legally ‘grandfathering’ the registrations into the new regime.

UK-based holders of existing EU REACH registrations may continue the ‘grandfathering’ process by providing basic information to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) by 30 April 2021.

Holders must complete the grandfathering process within 2, 4 or 6 years of 28 October 2021, depending on their Tonnage Band Deadlines.

Per the webpage –

The information UK-based holders need to provide will be the same or very close to what holders previously provided. Defra will publish any changes to the information needed in September 2020.

Businesses importing chemicals from the EU currently relying on a registration held by an EU/EEA-based company can continue importing substances as they do now on 1 January 2021. They will need to take subsequent actions to ensure that the chemical is registered for UK REACH purposes.

These UK downstream users must notify the HSE using a Downstream User Import Notification (DUIN) of their intention to continue importing substances from the EU/EEA by 27 October 2021.

A new registration must then be submitted to the HSE within 2, 4 or 6 years of 28 October 2021. Alternatively, UK downstream users can encourage their EU/EEA supplier to appoint a UK-based Only Representative (OR), or change their source to a UK registered supplier.

It’s possible to submit DUINs if a chemical is covered by a registration held by an EU/EEA-based OR and then sold into the UK.

The online service ‘Comply with UK REACH’ will go live on 1 January 2021. Businesses can use the service to:

• validate existing UK-held EU registrations (‘Grandfathering’)

• submit downstream user import notifications (DUIN)

• submit new substance registrations

• submit new product and process orientated research and development (PPORD) notifications

Businesses will need to coontact the HSE to ensure that they:

• validate existing UK-held product and process orientated research and development (PPORDs), known as ‘grandfathering’

• provide information on any authorisation matter,including new authorisation application, grandfathering of existing authorisations, and downstream user notifications of authorised uses

The above is NOT a full list of the stipulations in the updated webpage. Please read all parts of the webpage for all instructions.

New Legal Duty to Self-Isolate (England)

From 12am this morning, 28 September 2020, a new legal duty exists to self-isolate if notified (by persons identified in the legislation) as being a person who has (a) tested positive for COVID-19 after 28 September 2020 or (b) had a close contact after 28 September 2020 with a person who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The notified person must self-isolate (for the period and as stipulated in the Legislation), and must also notify each person living in his/her household. The Legislation does not set out legal duties for household members.

The Legislation – The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Self- Isolation) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 1045) – is here.

Close contact means –

(1) having face-to-face contact with someone at a distance of less than 1 metre,

(2) spending more than 15 minutes within 2 metres of an individual,

(3) travelling in a car or other small vehicle with an individual or in close proximity to an individual on an aeroplane.

Please note the duties on Employers.

The Stay at Home Guidance is also updated 28 September – you will see this has instructions for household members. The status of the document is Guidance. The document is here.

UK Internal Market Bill (UK)

A highly complex bill was introduced yesterday at First Reading. This bill is here.

Explanatory Notes for the bill are here.

The Institute for Government has a useful explainer here.

I Blog posted about the possibility of an Internal Market Bill earlier this year. In the meantime, the UK Government published a policy paper and conducted a short consultation.

From 1 Jan 2021, the UK government and the devolved administrations will no longer be collectively bound by EU law. As powers over key policy areas return to the UK government and the devolved administrations, there is a possibility that different parts of the UK may in future make different rules. This could create barriers to trade between constituent parts of the UK.

The UK Internal Market (UKIM) Bill would rely on the principles of mutual recognition and non-discrimination to ensure there are no new barriers for businesses trading across the UK.

The UK government argues that this bill will be necessary to underpin the functioning of the UK internal market after the end of the transition period – but the Scottish and Welsh governments are opposed to this approach. Instead, they would prefer to manage any possible new barriers to trade through mutually-agreed common frameworks in specific policy areas.

The government is also using this bill to give ministers powers to amend how the UK could implement the Ireland/Northern Ireland Protocol of the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement – if it can’t reach key decisions with the EU. The government has said that it will use the forthcoming Finance Bill (not yet published) to give ministers further powers with relation to the Northern Ireland protocol.

Clauses set out new monitoring responsibilities of the internal market for the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which will be exercised through an Office for the Internal Market (OIM).

The CMA will have powers to monitor and report on the effectiveness of the internal market, under its own initiative or at the request of the UK or devolved governments. Although its remit will be limited to regulations which fall within the scope of the earlier parts of the bill (and will exclude anything giving effect to the Northern Ireland protocol).

The government plans to pass the UK Internal Market Bill before the UK leaves the transition period at 11pm on 31 December – this means there will be limited time for parliament to scrutinise this constitutionally significant piece of legislation.

It will need to pass both the Commons and the Lords before it can become law, and both Houses will be able to table amendments.

Manufactured Goods (UK from 1st Jan 2021)

On 1st Sept 2020, the UK issued instructions for persons placing manufactured goods on the UK market after 1 Jan 2021. These instructions are here.

The instructions detail the situation for the GB market, separate links access instructions for GB companies placing goods on the EU market, and for Northern Ireland. Please follow those links and read the information set out there.

Separate rules apply to chemicals, medicines, vehicles and aerospace. Follow the links for the latest information. Medicines is well elaborated.

There are also rules for goods that are not covered by EU rules. Follow those links for the latest information there.

Finally, some other categories have particular rules, follow those links.

Please read my separate Blog post on UKCA marking. Note, UKCA marking will not be recognised in the EU or Northern Ireland markets. Products currently requiring a CE marking for sale in the EU will continue to need a CE mark.

Note, distributors of EU goods in the UK will become importers from 1 Jan 2021.

Queries should be sent to BEIS.

UKCA Mark (UK from 1st Jan 2021)

On 1st September, the UK issued instructions for manufactured goods (and some other classes of goods), together with instructions on the UKCA mark applicable from 1st Jan 2021.

The UKCA mark instructions are here.

The instructions for manufactured goods are here.

The instructions for medical devices are here (note CE marked goods can circulate in GB until 30 June 2023).

The instructions for construction products are here.

The instructions for explosives are here. (HSE)

The instructions for rail interoperability are here. (dating from 1st July 2020)

UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) marking is a new UK product marking that will be used for goods being placed on the market in Great Britain (England, Wales and Scotland). It covers most goods which previously required the CE marking, and aerosol products. I Blog posted some time ago about UKCA marking coming in.

UKCA marking alone cannot be used for goods placed on the Northern Ireland market, which will continue to require CE marking or UK(NI) marking.

The technical requirements (‘essential requirements’) and the conformity assessment processes and standards that can be used to demonstrate conformity – will be largely the same from 1st Jan 2021 as they are now.

UKCA marking can be used from 1 January 2021. However, CE marking will be permitted until 1 January 2022 in most cases.

CE marking will only be valid in Great Britain for areas where GB and EU rules remain the same. If the EU changes its rules and the product carries the CE mark on the basis of those new rules, CE marking will not be permitted for sales in Great Britain even before 31 December 2021. Please look out for Blog posts.

UKCA marking will not be recognised on the EU market. Products currently requiring a CE marking will need a CE marking for sale in the EU from 1 January 2021. [note from 1 Jan 2021, CE marks must be issued by legal entities based in the EU]

UKCA marking does not apply to existing stock, for example if the good was fully manufactured and ready to place on the market before 1 Jan 2021. In these cases the good can be sold in Great Britain with a CE marking even if covered by a certificate of conformity issued by a UK body.

On 1 Jan 2021 UK standards will be the same in substance and with the same reference as the standards used in the EU. However, they will use the prefix ‘BS’ to indicate that they are standards adopted by the British Standards Institution as the UK’s national standards body.

From 1 Jan 2022, CE marks will not be recognised in Great Britain for areas covered by the UKCA mark instructions and the UKCA marking. However, a product bearing the CE marking would still be valid for sale in the UK so long as it was also UKCA marked and complied with the relevant UK rules. Separate rules apply to medical devices (see the link above).

Product areas covered by the UKCA marking

• Toy safety

• Recreational craft and personal watercraft

• Simple pressure vessels

• Electromagnetic compatibility

• Non-automatic weighing instruments

• Measuring instruments

• Lifts

• ATEX

• Radio equipment

• Pressure equipment

• Personal protective equipment

• Gas appliances

• Machinery

• Outdoor noise

• Ecodesign

• Aerosols

• Low voltage electrical equipment

• Restriction of hazardous substances

All enquiries should be to BEIS.

This is a summary, please follow the links and read the instructions in full.

GB-EU Border Checks (UK & EU from 1st Jan 2021)

On 14 July, the EU updated and reissued it’s 1 Jan 2021 Readiness Notice on Customs (dated 22 Nov 2019) and combined the content with the updated and replaced Readiness Notices on Preferential Rules of Origin (dated 4 June 2018) and Customs and Indirect Taxation (dated 30 Jan 2018), here.

The day before, on 13 July, the UK published its Border Operating Model, here. I Blog posted about it at the time.

The Institute for Government in the UK has published a handy explainer – here.

GB to EU trade – From 1 Jan 2021

(1) Full customs declarations (UK export declarations and EU import declarations) will be required.

(2) If applicable, tariffs and import VAT will be payable at the time of import, unless traders are eligible to defer payments.

(3) UK exit summary Safety and Security declaration (or combined fiscal and safety and security declaration) and EU entry summary Safety and Security declaration will be needed.  

(4) Checks according to international conventions (e.g. CITES) will take place.

(5) Full SPS checks will be imposed, including a requirement for UK Export Health Certificates.

(6) Additional requirements will apply to the export of other controlled goods, in line with EU and member state rules.

(7) Excise goods will be subject to the rules applied by the importing EU member state.

EU to GB trade –

From 1 Jan 2021

(1) Full customs declarations will be required for controlled goods (e.g. excise goods like tobacco and alcohol).

(2) For standard goods (most goods), simplified customs requirements will be in place from January. Traders will have to keep sufficient records of their imports, but will be able to defer full customs declarations until 1 July 2021 (although they may submit customs declarations before if they wish).

(3) If applicable, tariffs will be payable, but it will be possible to defer payment until customs declarations are made (no later than July 2021). If applicable, import VAT will be payable, although many traders will be able to defer payment.

(4) An EU exit summary Safety and Security declaration will be needed.

(5) Checks according to international conventions (e.g. CITES) will take place.

(6) Imports of high-risk live animal and plants (and animal and plant products) must be pre-notified to the UK authorities via IPAFFS, have correct health documentation and may be subject to checks. Physical checks will be carried out at the point of destination or other approved premises.

(7) Import licenses and other requirements will apply to the import of some high-risk goods.

(8) Businesses importing excise goods will need to pay GB excise duties using the CHIEF or CDS systems (although excise duties are already payable on excisable imports from the EU).

From April 2021

Imports of all products of animal origin, regulated plants and plant products will require pre-notification to the UK authorities via IPAFFS and must have correct health documentation. Necessary physical checks will take place at the point of destination or other approved premises.

From July 2021

(1) Full customs declarations will need to be made at the time of import for all goods. Some traders may be eligible for simplified declaration procedures.

(2) Any applicable tariffs will be payable on import, although many traders are eligible to defer payments.

(3) A UK entry summary Safety and Security declaration will be needed.  

(4) Products subject to SPS checks will need to transit through a designated Border Control Post equipped to handle the goods in question and be subject to checks. Goods will subject to an increased rate of physical checks.

Meeting Climate Change Requirements (UK from 1 Jan 2021)

On 7 July, the EU revised and updated its 1 Jan 2021 Readiness Notice on the EUETS (EU carbon trading) (previously dated 19 Dec 2018). This updated Notice is here.

Amongst the list of instructions are :

(1) Operators of stationary installations in the UK and aircraft operators where the UK is the administering EU member state – to continue holding emission allowances after 30 April 2021 – must open a trading account in the Union Registry administered by an EU Member State and move their assets to this account.

(2) They must also – ensure that their annual emission reports are verified by verifiers established in the EU and accredited by the national accreditation body of an EU Member State.

Please note the Notice also sets out specific restrictions that will apply in Northern Ireland from 1 Jan 2021.

As a result, the UK has updated (19th August) its pre-existing instructions on meeting climate change requirements (covering emissions trading, ecodesign and energy labelling) previously issued on 12 October 2018. Note: the EU does not have 1 Jan 2021 Readiness Notices on ecodesign or energy labelling (only on EMAS and the EU Ecolabel).

The UK instructions are here. I Blog posted about these instructions at the time in 2018.

Key points : (taking account of the EU Readiness Notice)

(1) UK stationary installation operators and aircraft operators will continue to have access to Operator Holding Accounts and Aircraft Operator Holding Accounts administered by the UK for 2020 compliance obligations, up to and including 30 April 2021. Access to accounts after this date may no longer be possible.

Where applicable, operators should confirm with their traders that delivery of allowances will be possible from 1 January 2021 to ensure sufficient allowances are available to enable compliance with surrender obligations for 2020 emissions.

(2) Holders of Trading Accounts, Person Holding Accounts, Person Accounts in National Kyoto Protocol Registry and Former Operator Holding Accounts in the UK section of the Union Registry should plan for a loss of registry access from 1 January 2021.

(3) Free allowances will need to be allocated by the National Administrator on or before 31 December 2020 (the end of the transition period) subject to any changes being agreed by the European Commission in a Commission decision meeting.

(4) The deadlines for UK operators participating in the EU ETS during the transition period are:

• 31 March 2021 – submit Verified Annual Emissions Report for 2020 emissions

• 30 April 2021 – surrender equivalent allowances to 2020 verified emissions

NOTE : The temporary suspension by the European Commission on the processes relating to the UK registry was lifted on 3 February 2020 and the UK commenced the process of issuing 2019 and 2020 free allocation, as well as resuming auctions. The lifting of the suspension also allowed UK stationary installation operators and aircraft operators to regain the ability to use their entitlement in the Union Registry to exchange international credits for EU ETS allowances.

(5) Account holders who use their accounts to hold and trade Certified Emission Reductions and Emission Reduction Units will continue to be able to access their accounts within the UK’s Kyoto Protocol National Registry until 1 January 2021. As of 1 January 2021 (the day following the end of the transition period), account holders will no longer have access to these accounts.

The UK government is procuring a new system to enable account holders to hold and trade Certified Emission Reductions and Emission Reduction Units, which we expect to be operational in Spring 2021. Businesses with accounts in the Kyoto Protocol National Registry should consider taking action to manage the risks created by a short gap in service before the new system is implemented. For example, affected business could consider opening an account in another country’s registry to hold and trade Certified Emission Reductions and Emission Reduction Units during this period.

EU PRODUCT DATABASE (this is not an EU Readiness Notice, so this UK information derives directly)

(1) In terms of the EU product database:

• all consumers will still have access to the ‘open’ section of the database

• however, the UK’s Market Surveillance Authorities will no longer have access to the ‘closed’ compliance section of the database.

There will be changes for UK and EU suppliers regarding the EU product database. UK and EU suppliers placing relevant energy-using products:

• on the EU market will have to enter relevant information into the database

• on the UK market will not be required, under domestic law, to enter relevant information into the database, including for those products placed on the market between 1 August 2017 and 1 January 2019 after 1 January 2021.

UK and EU suppliers must ensure that relevant energy-using products:

• placed on the UK market comply with minimum UK Ecodesign and Energy Labelling standards

• placed on the EU market comply with minimum EU Ecodesign and Energy Labelling standards

UK and EU retailers must ensure that relevant energy-using products:

• placed on the UK market comply with minimum UK Energy Labelling standards

• placed on the EU market comply with minimum EU Energy Labelling standards

RE standards – All EU ecodesign and energy labelling requirements which enter into force and apply before 31 December 2020 will have effect in the UK. Further legislation is being prepared to ensure that all of these requirements continue to function in the UK from 1 January 2021.

Please clarify any gaps e.g. verification of annual emission reports, and the specifics applying in Northern Ireland, with the UK government department BEIS.

Medical Supplies (UK from 1st Jan 2021)

Healthcare is devolved in the UK, but contingency planning covers all 4 nations of the UK as well as the Crown Dependencies. Yesterday, the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) wrote to medical suppliers. The letter is here.

Re-routing away from the short straits

A large percentage of medical supplies come from the EU or have a supply touchpoint at the short straits (between Calais/Dunkirk/Coquelles and Dover/Folkestone). The DHSC letter asserts the first priority of any contingency should be to maintain replenishment rates at necessary levels by securing capacity to reroute freight away from the short straits potential disruption points. Companies are encouraged to review their own logistics arrangements and consider making plans for avoiding the short straits as a matter of priority.

In 2019, the Department for Transport (DfT) put in place a 4-year procurement framework for freight capacity for ‘Category 1’ goods , which includes all health supplies. This framework is still in place. DHSC is seeking to secure capacity on the government secured freight capacity (GSFC) to support the health and social care sector. More information will be provided when possible, including updates on the procurement timescales and when companies can expect to be able to register and access the service.

In addition, DHSC has retained its express freight service arrangements with 3 specialist logistics providers to support the urgent movement of medicines and medical products to care providers and patients if other measures experience difficulties. This service will be in place for deployment from 1 Jan 2021 as required.

Buffer stocks where possible

We encourage companies to make stockpiling a key part of contingency plans, and ask industry, where possible, to stockpile to a target level of 6 weeks’ total stock on UK soil. DHSC stands ready to support companies with their plans if required and understands that a flexible approach to preparedness may be required that considers a mixture of stockpiling and rerouting plans as necessary.

Centralised stock build

In the run-up to EU Exit, DHSC, working with NHS Supply Chain, built up a centralised stock build (CSB) of fast-moving medical devices and clinical consumables. Some of this stock remains and accounting for likely demand trends for the time of year, the DHSC plans to build these levels back up to a target level of 6 weeks’ total stock. The devolved nations of the UK may, in addition, choose to build their own stockpiles.

The UK Government also updated its guidance (for 1 Jan 2021) to healthcare providers – here.

And updated its Government contact details for medical supply businesses – here.