Environment Bill (England & UK Brexit)

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

Today, the announced new Environment Bill was given its First Reading. This Bill encompasses the governance aspects already announced by the previous administration (Bill that lapsed) and covers a range of matters, including Waste and Air Quality.

The Policy Statement is here. The Bill generally extends to England only, but its provisions are intended to create a UK wide approach, and some provisions clearly directly extend to the UK (e.g. UK REACH, below) –

On UK REACH – the Environment Bill gives the Secretary of State the power to amend two pieces of legislation regulating the use of chemicals in the UK.

(1) The REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) Regulation regulates the manufacture, placing on the market and use of chemicals. This is a Retained EU Law.

(2) The REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008 set out how the requirements of the REACH Regulation are enforced. This is a domestic UK Law.

Both of these laws are amended by Brexit Law effective from Exit day. Subscribers will find them in the Brexit Consolidated Law List in EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists.

The Policy Statement asserts the powers will enable the Secretary of State to take further steps where necessary to ensure a smooth transition to a UK chemicals regime following the UK’s exit from the EU.

The Policy Statement asserts it will also make it possible to keep the legislation up to date and respond to emerging needs or ambitions for the effective management of chemicals.

The Bill text is not yet public. I will issue further Blog posts once the text is public.

F-gases Rules (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October 2019

F-gases are regulated by EU Law.

DEFRA issued today clarifying rules on F-gases.

(1) Recovering, reclaiming and recycling F gas – here.

(2) Recording F gas in equipment you own or service – here.

IF these have an impact on ENV Law Checklists, then the Checklists will be updated, and subscribers to EHS Legislation Registers and Checklists will be notified in the next Email Alert.

Subscribers will note that the Brexit Consolidated Law List (found at the top right of the ENV and OHS Registers home page) has F-gases laws identified as HTML Done (green text) (meaning the changes are now incorporated, and linked from that list).

F-gases and ODS (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October.

HMG has today updated its instructions for those persons who use or trade in F-gases or ODS.

Here.

Brexit Law is issued in this area, and Cardinal has already consolidated this into base law and supplied it to subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists.

Defence Sector (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October.

Today, HMG republished instructions (dated 23rd May) for companies in the Defence Sector – here.

Linked are instructions (published 1st February, updated 14th March) for companies in the Aerospace Sector – here.

A few things to point out –

(1) Companies must continue right to work checks on all EU/EEA and Swiss citizens, by using their passport or national identity card, until January 2021.

(2) EU/EEA and Swiss citizens who were resident in the UK before or after the UK leaves the EU, do not need to be distinguished.

(3) EU/EEA and Swiss citizens who are resident in the UK before Exit day will be able to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to get settled or pre-settled status. EU/EEA and Swiss citizens must apply by 31 December 2020 (if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, which is now the most likely).

(4) EU, EEA and Swiss citizens arriving in the UK from Exit Day to 31 December 2020 can continue to come to the UK, but if they want to stay for longer than 3 months, they must obtain European Temporary Leave to Remain (NOTE : instructions are not updated since February – here).

(5) Irish citizens can continue to work in the UK under the Common Travel Area arrangement.

The Defence Sector document gives important instructions on certifications, chemical registrations, and goods conformity assessment. Please read these, and take appropriate steps.

None of this is new.

UK Chemicals Regulation (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October 2019

I posted before on UK Chemicals Regulation after UK Exit. This is a reminder post.

On the 25th March, HSE (the UK REACH chemicals regulator) published further instructions on access to UK REACH – here.

[the UK documents endlessly refer to a “Deal” – this is the Withdrawal Agreement, and for our purposes merely provides a new Exit day of 31st December 2020, not new trade arrangements with the EU]

These HSE instructions make it clear the online service ‘Comply with UK REACH’ will replace ECHA’s REACH-IT platform for UK REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals), from Exit day.

Live on Exit day, the new online system will allow:

* Businesses that have existing UK-held REACH registrations to validate their registrations (‘grandfathering’)

* Businesses that import chemicals from the EEA to submit downstream user import notifications

* Business to register new substance registrations or PPORD notifications (Product and Process Orientated Research and Development)

In order to minimise disruption to in the event of a no-deal Brexit, businesses that currently hold a REACH registration are encouraged to access their ECHA REACH-IT account and ensure that all the information relating to their business is downloaded. Information required to comply with UK REACH includes registration confirmation documents and ECHA decisions.

Under the new requirements, from Exit day –

* UK businesses that manufacture a chemical (those currently registered to EU REACH) will need to validate their existing registration with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) within 120 days of the UK leaving the EU.

* UK businesses that import a chemical substance from the EU will need to notify HSE within 180 days of the UK leaving the EU.

* UK businesses that export chemicals to the EU will need to have an EU REACH registration in place once the UK leaves the EU.

In addition, more technical information will need to be submitted by businesses to HSE within two years of EU Exit.

Current HSE instructions are here.

[the Exit day may change, please continue to follow this Blog]

Glyphosate (UK)

In 2017, the EU decided to renew (for a further five years) the licence that permits the herbicide Glyphosate to be marketed and used in the EU28. I have posted before about this (but it was a while back).

Glyphosate is marketed as Roundup by the US agrochemical company Monsanto.

One UN study called the chemical “probably carcinogenic”, but other scientists said it was safe to use.

The UK was among the EU member states in favour of glyphosate renewal. Germany and Poland were also among them – though they had previously abstained.

France and Belgium were among the states that voted against. Portugal abstained. President Macron said after the decision that France would ban Glyphosate as soon as alternatives are found, and within three years at the latest.

The EU Commission said the current proposal on the weedkiller “enjoys the broadest possible support by the member states while ensuring a high level of protection of human health and the environment”.

Glyphosate was introduced by Monsanto in 1974, but its patent expired in 2000, and now the chemical is sold by various manufacturers.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) says glyphosate is unlikely to cause cancer in humans.

Some countries and regions have banned glyphosate use in public parks and gardens. Its effect on plants is non-selective, meaning it will kill most of them when applied.

The European Commission says that besides EFSA, the European Chemicals Agency and other scientific bodies found no link to cancer in humans.

The Soil Association says glyphosate traces are regularly found in bread.

Since the EU decision, a US court has ordered Monsanto to pay one user a substantive sum in damages after he developed cancer, a second case in a different US court also ordered a substantive sum in damages, and further cases are before the US courts in different places.

As a result, Councils across the UK are examining whether to take action. This Guardian article summarises – here.

The current Government guidance is under review.

HSE is the UK regulator responsible for plant protection products (pesticides and herbicides) following Brexit – their online information is here.