Post-Brexit Environment Health and Safety Regulatory Changes

As the UK begin its new relationship with the EU outside the single market and customs union, we look at the key post-Brexit Environment Health and Safety developments in the UK’s regulatory landscape.

Repeal bill

The Great Repeal Bill will instantly annul the 1972 European Communities Act (ECA), which gives EU law instant effect in the UK and gives Parliament the power to absorb parts of EU legislation into UK law and scrap elements it does not want to keep. This new legislation’s primary purpose will be to repeal the European Communities Act 1972, (ECA).

  • The Repeal Bill is expected to provide for the use of secondary legislation to make necessary changes- The Health and Safety (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 as an example.
  • EU Directives have already been enacted in the UK. Still, regulations are laws that take direct effect throughout the EU without separate legislation by the UK or any other member state.
  • Within the UK there may be a divergence from some EHS legislation. This divergence will impact how companies operate and the requirements for compliance with Environmental, Health and Safety aspects.

The Organisation of EHS Within the UK

Following the end of the transition period, the government has a mammoth and complex task of organising the UK’s Environment, Health, and Safety Regulations (EHS).

DEFRA has responsibility for the Environment.

  • Assessing environmental impact
  • Environmental permits
  • Discharges-to-surface-water-and-groundwater-environmental-permits
  • Waste: environmental permits

Health & Safety Executive is responsible for H&S Regulatory Control and advising the Govt, and they are widely considered world-class in its kind.

Post-Brexit changes in the Environment regulatory Landscape

Environment Bill 2020: The Environment Bill allows for long-term targets to be set in respect of any matter which relates to the natural environment, or people’s enjoyment of it. It requires the government to set at least one target in four priority areas: air quality, biodiversity, water, and resource efficiency and waste reduction, as well as a target for fine particulate matter.

25 Year Environmental Plan: The 25 Year Environment Plan is the document “A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment” which was published in January 2018. It sets out the government’s ten goals for improving the environment within a generation and leaving it in a better state than we found it.

Office for Environmental Protection: From 1 January 2021, the UK government will establish a new, independent statutory body – The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP). The OEP will oversee compliance with environmental law and will be able to bring legal proceedings against government and public authorities if necessary. The OEP will also scrutinize and advise the government.

Post-Brexit Changes in the H&S Landscape

While the Repeal Bill will enshrine EU legislation on Health and Safety there may be changes post-Brexit for example;

  • The Working Time Regulations 1998.
  • The Construction, Design and Management Regulations 2015 (temporary structures and private households).
  • The requirement for Employers to meet the cost of eye and eyesight tests for Display Screen Equipment work.
  • The Agency Workers Regulations 2010.
  • The Railways and Other Guided Transport Systems (Safety) Regulations 2006.
  • REACH
  • CLP Regulations
  • Transportation of Dangerous Goods ATR/ADR/AND/IATA

Any new legislation should therefore either meet or surpass current EU legislation to minimise future problems for companies in the UK which is effectively adopting the Principle of Supremacy.


Watch our on-demand webinar to learn more about the Post-Brexit Environment Health and Safety regulatory changes.

Brexit Webinar

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