Date laid: 18 December 2018
Sifting period ends: 17 January 2019
1.These Regulations, laid by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs as a proposed negative instrument, propose amendments to ensure that Northern Ireland legislation, in relation to the controls and standards applied to trade in live animals, animal products and bees and non-commercial movement of pet animals, can continue to operate in a possible ‘no deal’ withdrawal of the UK from the EU.
2.The instrument proposes changes largely similar to those included in the draft Trade in Animals and Related Products (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 for England, Scotland and Wales, which were also laid as a proposed negative instrument and for which the Committee recommended an upgrade to the affirmative procedure, which the Department has accepted. The Committee’s concern at the time was that the instrument proposed maintaining unilaterally arrangements for the import of animals and animal products from the EU in a possible ‘no deal’ scenario, when the UK would be treated as a third country and would face considerable additional administrative requirements and potential costs for the commercial movement of animals and animal-related products and the non-commercial movement of pets. The same concerns about the potential impact of a ‘no deal’ apply to this instrument in relation to Northern Ireland. Any additional administrative requirements and potential costs for the commercial movement of animals and animal-related products and the non-commercial movement of pets would pose a particular challenge in the unique circumstances in Northern Ireland. Given these unique circumstances and the risks associated with ‘no deal’, the House may wish to have the opportunity to debate this instrument, alongside the earlier draft Regulations in relation to the rest of the UK. The Committee therefore recommends that the instrument should be subject to the affirmative procedure.
3.The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has laid these Regulations as a proposed negative instrument for the second time. The first time, the Committee recommended an upgrade to the affirmative procedure, as one of the proposed amendments would have had the effect of removing a statutory duty to ensure staff of competent authorities have appropriate education and training in relation to checks for transmissible spongiform encephalopathies. The Committee said at the time that the proposal risked giving the impression that control measures in this area were being weakened, and that this could potentially undermine UK meat exports after EU exit. We welcome that the Department has listened to the Committee’s concerns and has laid the Regulations without the amendment, as explained in the Minister’s letter to the Committee which we are publishing at Appendix 1. We also welcome that Defra has revised the Explanatory Memorandum to reflect additional information that the Committee requested on the practical impact of some of the other proposals. The Committee is of the view that following the changes that Defra has made to the instrument, the negative procedure is now appropriate.
1 Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (Sub-Committee B), 10th Report of Session 2017–19 ().
2 , Session 2017–19 (HL Paper 244).