Exit Day (UK Brexit)

UPDATE : this information note is issued along with the SI – here.

The Statutory Instrument (SI) is now laid to change the exit day (in UK law) from this Friday to either of 12th April or 22nd May.

Here it is.

It will be debated in Parliament (because the SI will be enacted via the affirmative procedure) later this week (UPDATE : on Wednesday). If it is not passed, the action of voting it down will not change Brexit day which is 12th April, at the soonest (or 22nd May, if Parliament ratifies the Withdrawal Agreement package, which is now unlikely).

Brexit day is 12th April.

There is a possibility this Statutory Instrument is not passed. In this case there will be legal uncertainty. But this uncertainty may be mitigated, if the relevant sections (that give legal authority to the UK Brexit Laws) of the EU Withdrawal Act are not themselves in force.

I will issue another Blog post on this matter later this week.

Many UK Brexit Laws are enacted, and listed in the Brexit Law List in subscribers’ Cardinal Environment EHS Registers and Checklists. However, not all are yet enacted.

Each of these identifies the ‘exit day’ as the date in force.

We will commence the massive task of consolidating into the UK Statute Base once the exit day itself is tied down. In any event we will commence before 12th April.

April 12th 2019 (UK & EU Brexit)

The EU has now issued its Press Release announcing it has completed all the No Deal preparations on its side. This Press Release has links to the new Laws and Notices – here.

Companies who are subscribers to Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists may make arrangements to discuss any matter, with me, via email.

We are waiting for the Statutory Instrument (on the UK side) to change the exit day from 29th March 2019 to two weeks later on 12th April 2019, to align with the Brexit date.

12th April 2019 is the new Brexit date.

[there are still circumstances that could change this date, or the arrangements that would apply, but the EU says today that it’s view is No Deal is increasingly likely]

I will issue another Blog post when further information is available.

(status of) Withdrawal Agreement & Political Declaration (EU-UK FTA)

UPDATE : these documents failed this evening (12th March 2019) at the second time of asking for ratification by the UK Parliament.

The EU has now published (in the Official Journal) both the Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Declaration – here.

Accompanying this is an EU Council Decision – here.

A couple of points to make :

(1) ratification of the Withdrawal Agreement (the “deal”) is required by both the UK and the EU Parliaments,

(2) the Political Declaration is a non-binding legal statement of intent, that may form the basis for the EU-UK FTA,

(3) the Withdrawal Agreement (if ratified) provides for a transition period during which — notwithstanding all consequences of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the Union as regards the United Kingdom’s participation in the institutions, bodies, offices and agencies of the Union — Union law, including international agreements, will be applicable to and in the United Kingdom.

The Commission, on behalf of the Union and of Euratom, would therefore notify the other parties to these agreements that the United Kingdom is to be treated as a Member State for the purposes of those agreements during the transition period.

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.

EU No Deal Contingency Plan Update (EU Brexit)

As they promised, the European Commission has now published its update to its contingency plan for No Deal – 14 legal measures. This document is here.

(1) The Commission repeats its prior position – the EU no deal measures are unilateral, limited and temporary. Adds that they will not apply to Gibraltar.

(2) Re UK nationals in the EU Bloc, the Commission repeats its prior position that they should get residence permits. Silence re acquired rights.

(3) The Commission will issue guidance on social security coordination.

(4) Re Financial Services, the Commission will use its own secondary law powers to immediately adopt unilateral measures. Two of these were already announced.

EU bloc firms will be permitted one year access to derivatives clearing houses in the UK, and two years access to central securities depositories in the UK that settle trades (already announced), and a year-long window will be opened for EU bloc organisations to change the contractual terms of over the counter derivatives.

(5) Re Aviation and International Road Haulage, two legal acts will allow airlines to fly point to point between UK and European cities, the most basic form of landing rights. Aviation safety certificates are also temporarily extended. [these measures were already announced]

[still no measures for ownership rights, an extremely difficult problem for the International Airlines Group (Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia and Vueling), which falls below the threshold to maintain its EU flying licences]

9 months of permit-free commercial road haulage, if reciprocal.

(6) Re Trade in Goods, the Commission confirms that general rules will apply, ie tariffs and non-tariff barriers. Adopts an immediate change to EU customs law and proposes a law on exports of dual use goods to the UK (civil goods with military uses).

Time limits are adjusted for customs declarations, but there are no special waivers to help with ro-to ferries at ports.

(7) Re EU Climate Change Policy, the Commission will immediately adopt three measures to take account of Brexit, one applies from January 2019 already.

FURTHER INFORMATION IS SET OUT IN THIS Q&A here.

I will add this document and the global ENV and OHS relevant legal measures to the Brexit Law List in Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists.

F-Gases & ODS (Brexit UK)

The UK Government has today issued a Technical Notice of instructions on using and trading F-Gases and ODS. This notice is here.

If there is no deal :

(1) The UK will regulate fluorinated greenhouse gases (F gas) and ozone-depleting substances (ODS) from 30 March 2019.

(2) The EU F gas and ODS regulations will no longer apply in the UK from 30 March 2019.

(3) New UK regulations will transfer most of the requirements of the EU regulations into UK law. [these are not yet published in draft, when they are published, I will add to the Brexit Law List in Cardinal Environment EHS Legislation Registers & Checklists]

(4) The UK will continue to:

• restrict ODS

• use the same schedule as the EU to phase down HFCs (hydrofluorocarbons, the most common type of F gas) by 79% by 2030 relative to a 2009 to 2012 baseline

That means UK F gas quotas will follow the same phase down steps as the EU:

• limited to 63% of the baseline in 2019 and 2020

• reducing to 45% of the baseline in 2021

(5) The UK will manage its own quota systems, and UK companies will need to register for a UK quota.

Where a company produces, imports or exports HFCs (the main class of F gases) or ODS, or products containing HFCs or ODS, it will need to apply for a:

• UK quota to place them on the UK market

• EU quota to place them on the EU market

If the company imports or exports ODS, including to and from the EU, it will need to apply for a UK import or export licence.

(6) The Environment Agency will administer the systems for the whole of the UK.

(7) After 30 March 2019 a company will need a UK HFC quota if it places on the UK market HFCs equivalent to 100 tonnes or more of carbon dioxide (CO2 ) per year. This total includes any imports to the UK from the EU.

(8) The Environment Agency will manage a new UK F gas system, including UK HFC quota allocation.

Companies will need to register on the new UK F gas system to:

• apply for a UK quota

• report on activities

If the Environment Agency has company data, it may register details for you.

The Environment Agency will publish details of how to use the UK F gas systems in early 2019. [I will update this post, or issue a separate post, at that time]

(9) Leak detection and other obligations will not change.

(10) Further rules are set out in the Notice, this post is not a full summary. Please read the Notice.