New Chemicals Instructions (EU Brexit Preparedness)

ECHA (the European Chemicals Agency) has new support pages – here.

These pages contain the most detailed information so far.

The UK has also issued Technical Notices, some of these are relevant for Chemicals. But, many gaps still persist.

Please visit the Chemicals category on this Blog, for the posts I have written on Chemicals and Brexit Preparedness.

We still have no instruction on Safety Data Sheets.

Current Brexit State 14 Nov 2018 (UK and EU)

EU and UK officials have agreed the text for the Withdrawal Agreement (a treaty) and Outline Political Declaration (on the future relationship between the UK and the EU bloc). This text was communicated to the UK at 9pm 12 Nov 2018, and the UK Cabinet will meet today at 2pm 14 Nov 2018. A vote of the UK Parliament, and of the European Parliament, is required, and each Member State must ratify.

Reminder : the UK is a Third Country from midnight CET 29 March 2019.

The EU has issued Brexit Preparedness Notices, and other Communications – here. I have posted about these.

Yesterday 13 Nov 2018, the EU issued a new Communication – here, and a new Travel Notice here. I posted this yesterday.

The UK has issued Technical Notices – here. I have posted about these.

France has agreed its Preparedness Law – the draft law is here. Further information is here. I have posted about this Law.

Some dates already apply now :

(1) pet vaccination

(2) online applications (UK) for ECMT International Road Haulage Permits (from 26 Nov 2018)

In the event, the Withdrawal Agreement and Outline Political Declaration text does not progress, further No Deal Instructions can be expected from 1st December 2018. HMRC and DfT already issued further No Deal instructions (I posted about these), and more can be expected.

In the event, the Withdrawal Agreement and Outline Political Declaration text does progress, and the Treaty is ratified, this will give a Transition/Implementation phase until Dec 2020, but the UK is still a Third Country from March 2019 (as above), albeit running under the arrangements put in place by the Withdrawal Treaty (in the UK this would be a Withdrawal and Implementation Act).

Business, charities and households must continue their preparations.

Please continue to follow and pay close attention to this Blog.

No Deal Contingency Action Plan (EU Brexit Contingency Measures)

The Commission has issued a Press Release updating on its No Deal Contingency Action Plan. The Press Release with links is here.

Note – the new Travel Notice (linked from the Press Release).

Note – the new 13 November Communication (linked from the Press Release)

Additionally two November 2018 PDF documents summarise the situation. Here and Here. The second PDF is reproduced as two images.

Chemicals Regulation (UK Brexit Preparedness)

Very little direct Brexit instruction is published by the UK on Chemicals Regulation, beyond the UK Technical Notices (I already posted about on this Blog). The EU also has its own Brexit Preparedness Notices (I already posted about on this Blog).

Today (7th November) the House of Lords EU European Union Committee published its report of evidence taken on the matter. This report is here,

There is agreement between the Government, industry and NGOs that the UK’s continued participation in REACH, the main system of EU chemical regulation, and continued membership of the European Chemicals Agency would be the best Brexit outcome.

But UK Brexit Preparedness is not advanced.

The Report identifies the following as requiring urgent attention (by Government) :

(1) clarifying its intended approach to chemical regulation in the future;

(2) creating and populating a database of chemicals;

(3) preparing a UK body to take on the role of chemical regulation in a way that is independent, transparent and scientifically robust;

(4) enabling businesses, including small businesses, to take pre-emptive action to maintain valid registrations for the EU market; and

(5) mitigating the economic impact on the chemical industry that would result from leaving the EU system.

NOTE THIS (referring to the evidence taken)

If associate membership of and ongoing participation in ECHA are not negotiated by exit day, a number of challenges arise. The first is the fact that, barring any preventative action, all chemical registrations will become invalid in the UK, and all registrations made solely by UK companies will become invalid in the EU. This would prevent the trade and use of those chemicals.

Peter Smith, Executive Director for Product Stewardship at Cefic, explained that there were 21,000 chemicals registered through REACH, 5,000 of which were registered by UK companies.

However, Ms Bulleid made the point that where one of those 5,000 substances is registered jointly by both a UK-based company and an EU-27-based company, “some people will be able to put it on the [EU] market, but the UK registrants will not”.

Ms Lloyd agreed, stating that chemicals registered by UK companies will not be invalid in the EU “unless the only registrants of that substance are UK companies”.

As a result, UK companies will lose access to the EU market, but the number of chemicals that would be prohibited is unclear.

THE REPORT CONTINUES WITH THE EVIDENCE GIVEN BY MINISTERS ON THEIR STEPS ON THE MATTER OF ILLEGAL REGISTRATIONS – these include :

(1) a new statutory instrument (Brexit Regulation) to continue the validity of UK registrations by UK registered companies for the UK market

(2) a DEFRA Secretary of State observation (based on the EU Brexit Preparedness Notices) that UK companies can mitigate by transferring their registration to an EU based affiliate or representative, but this is acknowledged as not possible in advance of exit day so there would be

a void of weeks or months before such companies are able to export substances to the EU.

Ms Edwards acknowledged this difficulty, stating that “there has been some discussion suggesting that you would need some sort of mechanism in place to enable those registrations to be transferred in advance”, but indicating that no such provision had yet been put in place

ON THE MATTER OF THE UK DATABASE

Ms Peake informed us: “Defra has asked for £5.8 million to set up an IT infrastructure to register chemicals in the UK in the case of having to set up an independent UK chemicals regulation system.”

Ms Edwards stated: “We are trying to build a system that will replicate, as far as it can, what the ECHA system does. Some of the fuller functionality that is not necessarily required on day one will come on board on a slightly slower timescale, but the critical thing for day one is to have that registration function in place.”

PLEASE CONTINUE TO FOLLOW THIS BLOG

Commercial Driving in the EU (UK Brexit Preparedness)

Today the UK Government published instructions on the actions commercial drivers must take (in the event of No Deal and no bilateral arrangements) in order to drive in the EU27 bloc after Brexit. This information is here.

The contents of any future EU-UK trade deal (or bilateral arrangements) may affect these instructions, so it’s essential to keep watching for updates (the information link in the first paragraph of this Blog post identifies ways to stay updated).

[A] Community licences and ECMT permits

Currently, UK lorry drivers carrying out international journeys must have a standard international operator’s licence along with a community licence for journeys to, from or through the EU and EEA.

Vehicles under 3.5 tonnes (including vans) and drivers operating on own account (carrying their own goods) do not need an international operator’s licence or Driver CPC.

ECMT permits will enable UK operators to drive in the EU and EEA (except Cyprus) if UK issued community licences are not recognised. ECMT permits are also recognised in 15 other countries.

Operators with a Northern Ireland operator’s licence will not be required to obtain an ECMT permit for a journey to the Republic of Ireland. Operators with a Great Britain operator’s licence should apply for an ECMT permit if they plan to drive in the Republic of Ireland from 29 March 2019.

Only limited numbers of ECMT permits will be available. Application will be online for ECMT permits from 26 November to 21 December 2018.

To apply for ECMT permits, a vehicle operator licence online account is required.

[B] Trailer registration (UK Brexit law)

From 28 March 2019, commercial trailers over 750kg and all trailers over 3,500kg must be registered before they can travel through countries that have ratified the 1968 Vienna Convention on Road Traffic.

This includes countries in the EU, EEA and Europe (listed in the Government Information, see link in the first paragraph of this Blog post).

Trailer registration is not required for trailers that are only used in the UK or only used for journeys between the UK and Ireland.

More details are in the Government Information, see link in the first paragraph of this Blog post).

New Contingency Planning Law (France Brexit Preparedness)

The draft law (which is not enacted, but could be enacted rapidly) is here. It’s subject is “reestablishment of checks of goods and passengers” & “restoration of veterinary, sanitary, phytosanitary, safety controls & customs formalities”.

1. UK citizens in France… in no deal

“In principle… this means requirement to present a visa” and requirement of residence document “without which British residents and their families would be staying illegally”.

The document also says France is watching the situation regarding the French in UK. Further information is here.

2. No Deal would involve “the reinstatement of veterinary and phytosanitary controls at the borders of the EU for live animals, plants and animal and plant products from the UK, or from other third countries transiting the UK…at dedicated installations, border inspection posts”.

3. “Community licenses” for haulage “would have no effect” after a No Deal Brexit leaving hauliers “unable to use them” and Cabotage “also prohibited”. [I reported this before under the EU Brexit Preparedness, I also reported the UK Technical Notice issued on this matter]

4. Preparations for “works for the construction of or emergency installation of premises, installations, or infrastructures, of ports, railways & airports, required by the establishment of checks of goods and passengers to and from the UK”.

5. Restoration of checks “will have to be put in place on the day of withdrawal in the case of exit without agreement”.

6. At present facilities for animal checks are not big enough for all required from UK at Dunkirk and Le Havre, Saint Malo and Brest, the document implies some will be required at Roscoff, Cherbourg, Caen, Calais and the Channel Tunnel “do not have border posts to date”.

[my thanks to Faisal Islam, Sky News Political Editor, for these numbered points to which I have added the ConnexionFrance link (point 1), and some other detail]

More Technical Notices (UK Brexit Preparedness)

The UK has today (24th September 2018) published more Technical Notices, some have a slightly earlier date. The collection to date is here.

Please note in particular the new Notices issued in the topics of Importing and Exporting, and Product Labelling.

Please note there is now a Technical Notice on REACH. This only covers the registration side. Given its tone, I would envisage in the first instance Safety Data Sheets and Marketing and Use Restrictions might not alter much, if at all. I will Blog post again if there is further information issued or made available on this.

(1) The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) would act as the lead UK regulatory authority, from the day the UK leaves the EU, building on its existing capacity and capability.

(2) The new regulatory framework would: enable the registration of new chemicals through a UK IT system that is similar to the existing EU IT system; provide specialist capacity to evaluate the impact of chemicals on health and the environment; ensure sufficient regulatory and enforcement capacity in the HSE, the Environment Agency (EA) and other regulators, enabling them to recommend controls in response to the hazards and risks of substances; and provide for an appropriate policy function in Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the devolved administrations.

(3) In a ‘no deal’ scenario the UK would not be legally committed to medium- or long-term regulatory alignment with the EEA.

Please note there is now a Technical Notice on the CTA between the UK and Ireland.

(1) If you are an Irish citizen you would continue to have the right to enter and remain in the UK, as now. You are not required to do anything to protect your status.

(2) In addition, you would continue to enjoy the reciprocal rights associated with the CTA in the same way that British citizens in Ireland would if there is no deal. These rights include the right to work, study and vote, access to social welfare benefits and health services. Where required domestic legislation and agreements would be updated to ensure that the CTA rights continue to have a clear legal basis.

(3) There would be no practical changes to the UK’s approach to immigration on journeys within the CTA: as now there would be no routine immigration controls on journeys from within the CTA to the UK. The legislation governing this approach will remain unchanged when the UK leaves the EU. So too will the legislative framework of integrated immigration laws between the UK and the Crown Dependencies. The CTA arrangements would be maintained, promoting the benefits of migration between these islands.

Please note the consultations proposed re GMOs.

Please email me if you need to discuss any matter.