1.These draft Regulations, laid by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), propose amendments to EU-retained legislation on three aspects of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy: fishing opportunities (the catch limits currently set by the EU for most commercial fish stocks), the landing obligation (a ban on discarding certain catches of fish at sea), and prohibitions on fishing for certain species in certain areas. According to Defra, the instrument proposes the minimum technical changes needed to ensure that the current conservation requirements and prohibitions continue to have effect in UK law after EU exit. The Department explains that the instrument revokes provisions which put into law the EU’s current fishing opportunities, as it will no longer be appropriate for these to apply to the UK after exit. Defra says that the Secretary of State will instead set fishing opportunities for the UK, under clause 18 of the Fisheries Bill. Defra told us that after exit the “Secretary of State will immediately replace the current EU figures with UK fishing opportunities” and that “in the event that the [Fisheries] Bill is not in force for Exit day, the Secretary of State will set UK total fishing opportunities for the UK for 2019 using prerogative powers”.
2.We received comments from Green Alliance on behalf of Greener UK and Wildlife and Countryside Link about the instrument, which we put to Defra. In its response, the Department explains that key aspects of the UK’s post-exit fisheries policy, including oversight arrangements and the role of the new Office for Environmental Protection, are set out in the Fisheries Bill and the draft Environment (Principles and Governance) Bill. The Department also points to the inclusion in the Fisheries Bill of a sustainability objective, a so-called precautionary objective in relation to maximum sustainable yields and a requirement for the UK fisheries administrations to produce a legally binding Joint Fisheries Statement as evidence that the Government will remain committed to the principle of sustainability. We are publishing the submission from Green Alliance and Defra’s response on our website.
3.At present there is no requirement for transport fuel sold in the UK to be accompanied by standardised labelling. Mis-fueling of petrol and diesel vehicles is a recognised issue, particularly putting petrol into diesel engines. The EU’s Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Directive 2014 requires Member States to adopt standard labelling that clearly sets out the type and biofuel content of road transport fuels. Introducing standardised fuel labelling aims to ensure consumers can identify and select different fuels accurately.
4.These Regulations require filling stations to place graphical identifiers, in the form of standardised labels, on both transport fuel dispensers and their nozzles, to indicate the fuel which that equipment dispenses. Vehicle manufacturers will be required to ensure that relevant identifiers, for all fuels with which a new vehicle is compatible, are placed near the fuel filler cap and in the vehicle manual. Motor vehicle dealers will also need to ensure that this information is clearly available to prospective users of the vehicle while that vehicle is offered for sale or lease. The Regulations allow time for parties to comply with the labelling requirements: for filling stations, operators will have five months from the coming into force date to comply, while vehicle manufacturers and dealers will have 12 months.
5.The Secretary of State has a duty to enforce the fuel labelling requirements. The Regulations enable any suitable person to be authorised to carry out that function, and the current intention is that the Office for Product Safety and Standards should be authorised to do so. Under the enforcement regime, obligated parties will have the opportunity to correct incidences of non-compliance; however, if the non-compliance is not rectified, civil penalties can be issued. The Department for Transport (DfT) estimates that the costs to businesses required to comply with the labelling requirements are expected to be around £1.4 million per year for the first five years. DfT also estimates projected savings to motorists of around £17 million per year based on reduced incidences of misfuelling and the corresponding reduction in vehicle repair fees.
6.The Sub-Committee received a letter from the Minister setting out the reasons for the breach of the 21-day rule for this instrument. The correspondence and our reply are set out at Appendix 1.
7.The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport states in the Explanatory Memorandum accompanying this instrument that, in 2016, the Chancellor announced that the Government would guarantee funding to organisations delivering projects awarded through EU direct bid grant funds, including where such projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU (“the HMG Guarantee”). This was extended, as notified to Parliament by Written Ministerial Statement in July 2018, to cover the payment of awards under successful competitive bids, both while the UK remained part of the EU and, in certain circumstances, after the UK’s departure from the EU when the UK will become a “third country”. The HMG Guarantee will only be needed if the EU and UK fail to put in place a negotiated agreement for EU exit. The purpose of these Regulations is to give the Secretary of State powers to provide financial assistance, in relation to England and Northern Ireland, to participants in the Creative Europe Programme and the Europe for Citizens Programme, if the European Commission ceases to provide funding to UK participants on or after exit day because of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The provision of this assistance may include the following circumstances: where UK organisations successfully bid directly to the European Commission on a competitive basis while the UK remains in the EU, and in respect of successful bids where UK organisations are able to participate as a third country in competitive grant programmes from exit day until the end of 2020.
8.There are currently around 35 sanctions regimes that take effect in the UK under EU law and associated UK secondary legislation. These are being progressively replaced by instruments under the Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018, so that all sanctions measures can continue to operate effectively after the UK leaves the EU. The new legislation, laid by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, will also allow the Government to amend and lift the sanctions, or impose further sanctions, autonomously. Instruments laid include country-specific sanctions regimes, including in relation to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, North Korea and Iran, as well as thematic sanctions including chemical weapons and counter-terrorism sanctions on organisations such as Da’esh. Some instruments also deal with multiple countries. None of these instruments include the names of designated persons on whom sanctions are imposed. They will be listed separately on the Gov.uk website. These instruments will be brought into force by a separate set of regulations which will set an appointed commencement day for all of them.
9.These Regulations, laid by HM Treasury, prevent EU legislation relating to the EU budget and economic policy from becoming part of UK domestic law on exit day. The UK is under an obligation to pay into the EU budget each month (the first payment after exit day being due in April 2019), and to submit convergence reports by the end of April 2019. This instrument, which comes into force on exit day, prevents the UK from accruing a new obligation to pay into the EU budget from the start of April. With regard to any payments that may be made to the EU under the draft Withdrawal Agreement, these will be provided for through separate primary legislation to implement the agreement in domestic law.
10.Under current EU Law, there is a common process for the protection of intellectual property at the border of the EU. Customs authorities in each Member State carry out checks on goods which are imported or exported until the goods are “cleared by customs” or formally released. The checks are intended to intercept counterfeit goods. After exit, the UK will provide a system of protection of intellectual property rights similar to the EU System. In the event of ‘no deal’, holders of rights that are enforceable in the UK (for example, where they have a Trade Mark registered in the UK), must be registered on a new UK database. An Impact Assessment provided by HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) explains that steps are being undertaken to transfer existing registrations to a new system, where applications were made through the UK authorities. However, for registrations which were made in another Member State, businesses will need to register on the new UK system to have their rights protected in the UK. HMRC anticipates that the costs of EU businesses having to register will be negligible. HMRC will make no charge for registration. This instrument does not have effect in relation to trade in goods between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. HMRC has stated that “further details on the arrangements for trade between Northern Ireland and Ireland will be published as soon as possible.”
11.These instruments have been re-laid by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. The Sub-Committee drew these instruments to the special attention of the House in its 18th Report.
1 Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (Sub-Committee A) publications page: .
2 on the Deployment of Alternative Fuels Infrastructure
3 A body situated within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
4 See for example HM Treasury, Financial sanctions targets by regime (19 October 2018): [accessed 15 March 2019].
6 , Session 2017-19 (HL Paper 297).