IChemE welcomes UK decision to scrap EU law deadline

12 May 2023

The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) welcomes the UK Government’s decision, announced on May 10, to remove the deadline for all retained EU laws to automatically expire by the end of 2023 unless there was a specific decision to replace or keep them.

Among the nearly 5,000 laws that could be struck off through the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill are several items of major hazards legislation. IChemE’s safety community was concerned at the lack of clarity on whether there is sufficient existing legislation on the UK statute book to avoid any gaps emerging. They noted that a deadline could have created a risk that not all affected legislation would be sufficiently scrutinised in time to understand the full impact of revoking EU law.

“IChemE is pleased that the immediate deadline to sunset thousands of laws has now been removed. This will give legislators more time to properly assess the impact of revoking EU-originated legislation and reduces the risk of unforeseen consequences that might impact the safety of the many industries and environments within which chemical and process engineers work."David Bogle, IChemE President

The Government still plans to remove or replace 600 laws by the end of 2023 but these do not appear to include safety-critical legislation at this stage. The longer list of laws still to be considered, now against a more appropriate timetable, includes several pieces of major hazards legislation originating in the UK, but subsequently adopted and amended in the EU, such as:

  • The Planning (Hazardous Substances) Regulations 2015
  • Control of Major Accident Hazards Regulations 2015
  • Offshore Installations (Offshore Safety Directive) (Safety Case etc) Regulations 2015

Plus other safety legislation such as:

  • Offshore Installations (Prevention of Fire and Explosion, and Emergency Response) Regulations 1995
  • Dangerous Substances and Explosive Atmospheres Regulations 2002

IChemE will continue working with its partners to support policy makers in ensuring legislation in the major hazards arena limits the consequences of any major accidents to people and the environment.

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