Twelfth Report Contents

Instruments of interest

Draft Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

58.These draft Regulations, laid by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), propose amendments to some 28 product-specific ecodesign regulations as part of the Department’s contingency preparations for a possible ‘no deal’ scenario. The purpose is to ensure that ecodesign and energy labelling requirements that are in force or scheduled to apply before exit will continue to apply to energy-related products placed on the UK market after exit. BEIS explains that while these requirements will be the same as the EU requirements immediately after exit, the instrument proposes a power for the Secretary of State to legislate to “keep step with equivalent standards wherever possible and appropriate, or even exceed them where it is in the UK’s interest to do so”. The instrument also proposes a UK system of product testing standards in which UK “designated standards” will indicate a presumption of conformity with UK requirements, in the same way that “harmonised standards” do at present in relation to EU requirements. BEIS says that the UK standards will be the same as the EU standards. In addition, the draft Regulations propose a stand-alone UK regime for third-party product verification, under which space heaters and combination heaters for the UK market will be assessed by UK approved bodies, replacing the current assessment by EU approved bodies. This new regime is to be subject to the framework for a new UK marking which is being introduced by the draft Product Safety and Metrology (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.29 The new UK marking will indicate a product’s compliance with UK requirements and replace the current CE marking of the EU. The instrument proposes provisions to allow products with an CE marking to be placed on the UK market after exit for a transition period.

Draft Intellectual Property (Copyright and Related Rights) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018

59.These draft Regulations, laid by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), propose amendments to different areas of intellectual property law to ensure that it can operate effectively after a possible ‘no deal’ withdrawal of the UK from the EU. Amongst other changes, the instrument proposes to revoke regulations that enable the temporary portability of online content services. In practice, this portability allows consumers to access online content services, such as Netflix or iTunes, for free while visiting another EU Member State. While UK consumers will lose this right after EU exit, in the absence of any intervention, EU consumers would retain their right when visiting the UK. BEIS says that such an imbalance would not be appropriate and therefore proposes to revoke the regulations to restore a level playing field in this area. A different approach is taken in relation to satellite broadcasting, where the country-of-origin (COO) principle will be retained for Member States after exit. Under the COO principle, satellite broadcasters have to obtain copyright permission from rightsholders to broadcast only in the country of origin, but not in the country of destination. BEIS explains that in a ‘no deal’ scenario, Member States would no longer be required to apply the COO principle in their territories to broadcasts from the UK, while this instrument would protect their rights in the UK. The Impact Assessment provides limited information on how UK-based broadcasters may be affected, or how the loss of portability of online content may impact on UK consumers. BEIS explains that any additional costs or burdens are not considered in detail, as they would depend on the domestic policies in Member States and would be a result of the UK’s departure from the EU, rather than of the Department’s chosen policy in this instrument. The Committee is of the view that it would have been helpful to provide more information of the potential impact of EU exit on UK businesses and consumers in these areas.

60.The instrument also seeks to preserve the UK’s compliance with the requirements of the Marrakesh Treaty, which has been ratified by the EU and enables individuals and organisations in Member States to make available more easily copies of literary works in accessible formats (such as Braille or audio) for use by blind, visually impaired and print-disabled people. The Committee notes that in addition to the provisions made in these draft Regulations, the UK will be a third country in relation to the Marrakesh Treaty after EU exit and will need to ratify the Treaty in its own right.

Draft Maritime Transport Access to Trade and Cabotage (Revocation) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

61.This instrument revokes a number of pieces of retained EU legislation relating to market access and regulation for maritime transport services, largely because reciprocity between the UK and the EU cannot be guaranteed after exit. For example, the rights for shipowners in the remaining 27 Member States to provide maritime services within the UK (maritime cabotage) will be removed, as UK ships will not benefit from equivalent rights in the EU. The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed that “the UK has an open approach to cabotage; this means that we do not place restrictions on other countries providing shipping services in our waters. The removal of the rights … do not mean, in practice, that ship owners from EU countries will be prevented from providing services in UK waters.” However, DfT notes that the ability of UK operators to provide shipping services in the EU after exit “can only be determined when future partnership between the EU and UK is decided.” The Committee recommended that this instrument, when laid as a proposed negative, be subject to the affirmative procedure, and we welcome the decision of DfT to accept that recommendation so that the House may consider any potential impacts.

Draft Representation of the People (Election Expenses Exclusion) (Amendment) Order 2019

62.This Order aims to encourage disabled candidates to participate in elections by excluding additional expenses related to their disability from official campaign spending limits. Disability-related expenses might include the cost of providing transport support for mobility-impaired candidates, British Sign Language interpretation for hearing-impaired candidates during election campaigns or the transcription of campaign material into braille for visually-impaired candidates. Matters of expenditure that would be common to both disabled and non-disabled candidates, such as the normal printing of campaign leaflets for distribution to the public, would not fall within the scope of this exemption. The exclusion created by the Order will also capture disability-related expenses funded from grants provided by the EnAble Fund for Electoral Office, which will provide grants to support disabled candidates primarily for the English local government elections in May 2019.30

Draft Road Vehicle Emission Performance Standards (Cars and Vans) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

63.EU Regulations (“the EU Regulations”) establish mandatory fleet average CO2 emissions targets for all cars and vans registered in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway each year; and also establish specific targets by which individual manufacturers must abide. Individual targets are based on a formula which compares the mass of the vehicles within a manufacturer’s fleet against the average mass of all registered vehicles that are in scope of the EU Regulation. Fines are levied for non-compliance with these individual targets. This instrument moves from fixed derogation thresholds, so that each manufacturer will receive individual thresholds based on their share of EU sales that occurred in the UK in 2017.31 The Department for Transport (DfT) explains that “this will ensure that manufacturers qualify for the same type of derogation in the UK that they would have received through the EU regulation.” Therefore, for 2019 data, enforcement will begin in February 2020. When manufacturers register a new car or van in the UK, they must provide the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) with information. This will be used by the public authority responsible for enforcement to calculate a CO2 emissions target for each individual manufacturer. A fine will be levied on any manufacturer that does not meet its target. DfT explains that “the public authority … has not yet been confirmed. The Regulations set the legal framework for any enforcement body but appointment of a body would not be appropriate if a no deal scenario were not to occur. However, the Regulations would not need to be enforced by a regulator/public authority until February 2020 at the earliest. Any functions leading up to the first enforcement can be covered by existing resources in DfT and the DVLA on behalf of the Secretary of State.”

Statement of Changes in Immigration Rules (HC 1849)

64.This Statement implements the third phase of the roll-out of the EU Settlement Scheme for resident EU citizens and their family members to obtain UK immigration status after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. It follows an initial testing of the Scheme with volunteers at 12 NHS Trusts and three universities in north-west England, and a second testing phase that involved volunteer staff in the higher education, health and social care sectors across the UK as well as some vulnerable individuals. While the Home Office intends to publish a full evaluation of the second phase later in January 2019, initial findings suggest that, of the more than 15,500 applications made, 71% were granted settled status, with the rest granted pre-settled status, and that over 90% of applicants successfully used the identity verification app, with the rest required to submit their identity document by post. The third phase in the roll-out of the EU Settlement Scheme, as set out in this Statement, will launch on 21 January 2019 and will be available to all resident EU citizens (and their EU citizen family members) with a valid passport, and to non-EU citizen family members who have a valid biometric residence card. The Home Office says that subject to further Immigration Rules changes to be laid before Parliament in early March 2019, the Scheme will be open fully by 30 March 2019. Applicants will then be able to use a wider range of documents to prove their nationality and identity.

29 This statutory instrument will be considered by the Committee separately.

30 See House of Commons Written Statement, 17 May 2018, HCWS695.

31 The latest year for which DfT has complete and ratified data.

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