Brexit: Amendment to air quality, national emission and REACH

Prior to the end of the transition period, the UK government issued a large number of Brexit amendment to make changes in current UK law and retained EU legislation. These changes all come in force since the first day of 2021.

Amongst them, The Environment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 make amendments to legislation in the fields of air quality, environmental protection, international trade in endangered species of wild fauna and flora, public health and chemicals.

The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 are made to address failures of retained EU law to operate effectively and other deficiencies arising from the withdrawal of the United Kingdom (“UK”) from the European Union. They are also made to implement, and deal with matters arising out of or related to, the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the EU withdrawal agreement.

Air Quality: still aligns with applicable EU Directive obligation

  • The Environment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 make amendments to the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010 to update a limit value applicable from 2020
  • The Environment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 make amendments to the National Emission Ceilings Regulations 2018 to amend a national emission ceiling obligation
  • The Environment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 make amendments to the Air Quality (Miscellaneous Amendment and Revocation of Retained Direct EU Legislation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 to incorporate further amendments to retained EU legislation that has been adopted at the EU level after those Regulations were made. In particular, it makes amendments to two Decisions that establish best available techniques (BAT) conclusions for the purposes of Directive 2010/75/EU of the European Parliament and the Council on industrial emissions and two reporting Decisions in respect of air quality.

REACH: EU law still applies in NI while changes have been to made to GB regulations.

  • The Environment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 make amendments to the REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, which amend retained EU law in the field of chemicals. It substitutes references to “exit day” with references to “IP completion day”, and makes related amendments to defined terms.
  • The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 amends the REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/758) (the “Exit Regulations”). The Exit Regulations amend Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) (the “REACH Regulation”)
  • The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 amends the Exit Regulations to take account of the NI Protocol. It provides for the domestic REACH regime to apply in respect of Great Britain rather than the United Kingdom. The REACH Regulation in EU law will continue to apply in Northern Ireland by virtue of the NI Protocol
  • The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 makes special provision in respect of substances entering Great Britain from Northern Ireland. Under new article, a Northern Irish supplier will be able to notify the Agency directly of existing supplies of substances to Great Britain that they wish to continue making after the end of the transition period.
  • The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 makes provision in respect of substances imported from Northern Ireland. New Articles 139A and 139B set out a new notification procedure for substances imported from Northern Ireland. This notification can be made by the importer or the Northern Irish supplier.
  • The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 provides for Northern Irish entities to be able to apply for and hold authorisations in respect of qualifying Northern Ireland goods.
  • The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 amends that Schedule so existing registrants or downstream users have longer to provide the full registration information to the Agency. The deadlines are phased by reference to the hazards posed by a substance and the quantities in which it is manufactured or imported.
  • The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 provides that a number of amendments made by the REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) (No. 3) Regulations 2019 (S.I. 2019/1144) no longer need to be made.
  • The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020 amends the REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008 as they have effect in Northern Ireland. There will now be two versions of the REACH Enforcement Regulations 2008. One will apply in Great Britain and one will apply in Northern Ireland. Some offences under the retained EU law version of the REACH Regulation will apply to people established in Northern Ireland if they choose to directly notify the Agency of substances imported into Great Britain or apply for authorisations.

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