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Raft of consultations predicted on environmental law ‘Brexit gaps’

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Nearly 35% of EU derived environmental laws ‘will not work’ after Brexit a senior lawyer has said, urging the health, safety and environmental community to engage after the election.


Simon Colvin, head of national environment team at Weightmans’ law firm, said: “Directives on emissions, REACH, exporting waste – all have references to EU institutions and ways of doing things, and these won’t work after Brexit. Defra has said they are working on the areas between now and March 2019 on how the gaps will be plugged.”

Speaking on the British Safety Council’s webinar on environmental policy today, his advice to the industry was to “keep your eyes peeled after election – there will be notifications and consultations on the proposals before they come law. These are something to watch out for.”

He was referring to the process of the Great Repeal Bill, in which EU derived laws will be transferred to be embedded into UK legislation.

Colvin also said the government could concede to apply any future EU environmental law as part of negotiations to leave. “The downside of this will be UK will lose the ability to influence environmental law directly and will no longer be part of the process,” he said.

His comments came as the UK is absent from battles being fought out to set directives on key emerging occupational health risks.

Last week the EU Commission published its plans to update its directive on the protection of workers from exposure to carcinogens. Trade unions in the EU voiced their outrage on the plans which omit the killer carcinogen diesel engine exhaust.

They said the lack of legislation prohibiting exposure to diesel engine exhaust at work will result in 230 000 deaths in the EU between 2010 and 2069, according to the EU Commission’s own calculations.

“The Commission can and should adopt a more ambitious strategy to eliminate work-related cancers. The scale of the problem calls for bigger and faster steps,” said Esther Lynch, of the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI).

Missed the webinar? Access on Youtube

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