UK – The UK government is set to remove a provision that would have revoked any EU-derived laws that hadn’t already been replaced, repealed, or incorporated into UK domestic law by December from the Retained EU Law Bill (REUL).   

The Bill was announced in January 2022 with the intention of making it simpler to change, replace, and repeal existing EU law.

After the Brexit transition phase, more than 2,400 pieces of EU legislation remained part of UK law.

The UK Food Standards Agency (FSA) has recognized eight EU laws termed “statutory instruments” as being unnecessary in the UK.

“We have reviewed these laws in detail and are confident that removing them will not impact food safety or standards,” said the Agency.     

Consumer advocacy group Which? and the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) had requested a postponement of the government proposal.

“While the announcement from the government is welcome, it is worth remembering how close to the wire this has been, and that the bill has been both a mammoth undertaking and a major distraction for government departments at a time when resources could have been allocated to tackling more pressing issues for consumers. 

“The focus on Retained EU Law has also potentially created a logjam where progress in other areas, including the long-awaited product safety review has stalled,” John Herriman, Chief Executive of CTSI, said.

Herriman stated that the committee would examine the 600 pieces of legislation still in jeopardy of being repealed in order to guarantee that no essential safeguards for UK firms or consumers are lost.

“The government needs to take the time to consult with stakeholders to properly assess what can be revoked from EU Law, and what changes need to be made to ensure we don’t risk undermining important consumer protection laws and that we have a robust system that meets the needs of the modern day,” he said.

According to Nick von Westenholz, Director of Trade and Business Strategy for the National Farmers Union, the removal of the end-of-year component was decided upon rationally and practically,

“A systematic review of Retained EU Law makes a lot of sense, and Brexit provides an opportunity for improving the regulatory regime that governs farming and looks after our environment,” he said.

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) acknowledged that it was crucial to evaluate EU-derived laws but opposed the “unnecessarily hasty approach”, reports Food Safety News.

Meanwhile, Louise Hosking, Executive Director of Environmental Health at the CIEH, said work remains to be done to ensure regulatory standards are protected.

“While we welcome this decision to remove the arbitrary sunset date, this is merely one clause in a wide-ranging bill. The bill still aims to review, repeal, or replace thousands of pieces of retained EU law, without any meaningful public consultation or parliamentary oversight,” she said.

Food Standards Scotland (FSS) had earlier issued a warning that if the Retained EU Law (Reform and Revocation) Bill was advanced in its current form, there were significant risks and effects for Scottish consumers in relation to food safety and standards.

After the UK left the EU, its regulators assumed a number of new and extended duties that had previously been handled by the EU and its institutions, leading to delays, ambiguity, regulatory divergence, and staffing concerns dominating the scene.

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