Environmental laws to be transposed through Great Repeal Bill

The government has confirmed its plans to transpose all of the current European environmental regulations into UK law following our exit from the EU.

In a White Paper published by the Department for Exiting the European Union on 2 February 2017, the government set out a vision for what it hopes to achieve in its negotiations with the EU on our departure. The paper confirms the government’s plans to use the Great Repeal Bill, which was announced to Parliament in October 2016, to “bring the current framework of environmental regulations into UK and devolved law” once Britain leaves the EU.

This will mean that existing environmental laws, together with any targets that are set out in EU legislation such as the Waste Framework, Producer Responsibility or Landfill Directives will be retained when the UK leaves the EU, and until the government has put in place any alternative legislation. If adopted into formal EU law before the end of the UK’s withdrawal process, the Circular Economy package, which proposes amendments to several European directives to improve measures on resource efficiency, would also be brought into UK law.

Under the 1972 European Communities Act, EU law currently prevails over UK law. The repeal bill would end the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice in the UK and convert existing EU legislation into domestic law. That will only come into force on the day Britain leaves the EU, with future governments then able to amend, repeal or improve legislation, making changes through secondary legislation.

‘The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union’ white paper sets out 12 priorities and a strategy for forging a partnership between the United Kingdom and the EU. It says the government is “committed to ensuring we become the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we found it…We want to take this opportunity to develop over time a comprehensive approach to improving our environment in a way that is fit for our specific needs.”

Keeping you informed

We will continue to keep all of our WEEE compliance and packaging compliance members, clients and partners informed of changes as the EU exit negotiations progress. If you are a WEEE or packaging compliance member and have any questions about the impact of the UK's departure from the EU, please get in touch with a member of our team on 0845 129 7177.

The government’s Brexit White Paper can be read in full on its website.

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