22nd Report Contents

Instruments of interest

Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000 (Estimates and Accounts) Order 2019 (SI 2019/476)

10.This Order, laid by HM Treasury (HMT), designates bodies for inclusion in departmental estimates and accounts for the financial year that ends on 31 March 2020 (for example, 15 bodies are designated to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, including the Homes and Communities Agency). A new instrument is prepared each year to designate departmental boundaries; for the current year (2018-19), the relevant instrument is the Government Resources and Accounts Act 2000 (Estimates and Accounts) Order 2018 (SI 2018/313). In the accompanying Explanatory Memorandum, HMT says that the consolidation of bodies within the central government boundary supports greater transparency of spending data by providing Members of Parliament with information about departmental spending plans that is easier to understand and to track.

Invasive Alien Species (Enforcement and Permitting) Order 2019 (SI 2019/527)

11.The purpose of this Order, laid by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), is to implement EU Regulation No 1143/2014 (“the EU Regulation”) that aims to prevent, minimise or mitigate the adverse impact of the introduction and spread of invasive alien species within the EU. Defra explains that invasive alien species pose a threat to some of the UK’s rarest species and most sensitive ecosystems, and that their impact is estimated to cost the economy more than £1.7 billion per year. This Order introduces criminal offences to enforce the restrictions contained in the EU Regulation, with a maximum penalty of two years’ imprisonment, a fine (not exceeding the statutory maximum in Scotland or Northern Ireland), or both. Defra says that the criminal offences back up the civil penalties regime that is also included in the Order, give regulators an option to enforce the most serious breaches and are intended to act as deterrent. The Order provides enforcement officers and customs officials with a range of powers, including stop and search powers, as well as powers of entry, examination, seizure (for example at the UK border) and sampling. The Order also enables cost recovery by the relevant regulators and a permitting and licensing regime. According to Defra, permits will be issued for the import, keeping and breeding (but not for sale or release) of species, for example, where these are needed for research or used in products that support human health. Licences will be made available for activities that aim to eradicate newly-arrived species or contain species that have spread. Defra says that a separate instrument was made to correct any deficiencies arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.1 We asked the Department about the delay in implementing the EU Regulations which came into force in January 2015 and are publishing the Department’s response at Appendix 1.

Port Services Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/575)

12.EU Regulation (2017/352) (“the EU Regulation)2 established a framework for the provision of port services and common rules on the financial transparency of ports. The UK voted against the adoption of the EU Regulation, arguing that its provisions (other than those promoting transparency of public funding) were unnecessary and largely inappropriate for promoting investment and efficiency at European ports, and particularly those in the UK. The UK was the only Member State to vote against the EU Regulation; it was however agreed, and the UK is required to comply with its EU legal obligations whilst it is still a Member State. Given the Government’s objection to the EU Regulation, we asked the Department for Transport (DfT) if it was Government policy to disapply the EU Regulation after exit day. DfT explained: “In the event of a no-deal Brexit, with no implementation period, it would be open to the Government to bring forward primary legislation to repeal the retained European Regulation (2017/352) at an appropriate juncture. In that eventuality, the Government would revoke these regulations which are only needed to supplement the EU Regulation.” The EU Regulation entered into force on 23 March 2017 and applies to Member States from 24 March 2019. These Regulations come into force on 6 April 2019. DfT explains that “Because of the pressure on the Department’s secondary legislation programme with the volume of Brexit no-deal SIs that we have been required to make, it was not possible for the Department to make this SI in time to adhere to the 21-day rule and come into force on 24 March, as ideally it would have done.” It is regrettable that, while the EU Regulation came into force two years ago, the Department was unable to bring forward secondary legislation in time to meet the implementation deadline specified.

1 Invasive Non-native Species (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/223).

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