The Government says it is amending the REUL Bill to be clear which laws it intends to revoke at the end of this year. This effectively removes the blanket “sunset clause” target of end 2023 for review of all EU retained Law.
Alongside this, a paper ‘Smarter Regulation to Grow the Economy’ has been published which sets out a programme of reform to reduce the burden of regulation, to maximise innovation and growth and to support UK businesses and consumers, government says. Though largely a policy and framework document it includes the intention to reform Working Time regulations.
Proposed reforms will, of course, be subject to the appropriate parliamentary scrutiny mechanisms, government says. “All Statutory Instruments that significantly reform retained EU law will be subject to the affirmative procedure and will be debated by both Houses. SIs which reform retained EU law in any limited way, which revoke retained EU law, or which restate interpretive effects will be subject to the sifting procedure, the procedure which worked well for EU Exit SIs. This is a proven method of parliamentary oversight.”
The REUL (Retained EU Law) dashboard has been updated. The dashboard gives an overview of the percentages of REUL which have already been amended, repealed, or replaced. The data used to populate the dashboard can be found here.
EAMA has welcomed the announcement, in a note to the Department for Business and Trade, saying it will be seen as confirmation of an approach to the process of making changes to EU retained/assimilated law that was already evident. It is in the best tradition of British government to give proper consideration to regulatory change.
The Conservative right has attacked the government’s approach. Jacob Rees-Mogg said last month said it was thin gruel instead of the Brexit roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.
Reform of the Working Time regulations is likely to consume many column inches in the coming months, for and against. We would welcome views on whether you consider them to have much impact on your business either way and whether reform might lead to significant change in practice.
The announcement on retained EU law comes just a few hours after the government confirmed that “longer lorries” will be allowed on Great Britain’s roads. The notice from gov.uk, notably, makes no reference to EU law, but the change may be seen as instructive in the broader context of our relations with the EU. The change applies to GB only – not to Northern Ireland.
The longer lorries result from allowing an additional 2.05 metres in length, compared with the maximum allowed under EU weights and dimensions regulations. However, it also marks the end of a long and protracted “trial” and there are already 3,000 of these trailers on the road, often with two loading decks. Users include supermarkets and pallets-as-parcels networks, that use them for overnight trunking.
The European Commission at first objected to the breech in Single market regulations, more than a decade ago. The UK answered that they were being trialled – even as the number grew – and therefore breeched no EU rule; and that they were environmentally progressive, and therefore should be welcomed. A significant detail is that the trailers operate within EU regulations specifying a maximum permitted turning circle.
A degree of divergence from EU regulation is inevitable, not least as the EU moves from its current position – for example with the upcoming Machinery Regulation, which will replace the Machinery Directive.
Suggestions for changes to regulation are invited from the machinery and component supply chain. Feedback, in confidence, are most welcome – and should not be restricted to retained EU law.