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The first batch of proposed legislation for the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee to consider have been published.

These proposed Statutory Instruments (SIs) are the start of a series of proposed legislative changes that will be necessary for when the UK leaves the European Union on "exit day". Prior to being implemented into law, these SIs will pass through the newly established Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committees. Each House will have its own designated Committees.

The Committees will be taking up the role of "sifting" through proposed negative instruments following the passing of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.

The European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 gives Ministers wide powers to make Regulations to deal with the deficiencies in retained EU law which will result from the UK's withdrawal from the EU. It allows them a choice of procedure and most Regulations will first be laid as "proposed negative instruments", which after a "sifting" process, will be laid as SIs.

The process

How the process will work:

  • Ministers will propose negative instruments for consideration;
  • the Committees will have 10 days, starting the day after the proposed negative instrument is laid to scrutinise the proposed legislation and make their recommendations;
  • if either Committee recommends a proposed negative instrument should be upgraded to an affirmative procedure, the Minister may either accept or reject the recommendation, and if rejected give a written statement explaining why;
  • any instruments recommended for upgrade will be listed online.

What are negative instruments?

Negative instruments are made by a Minister before they are laid before Parliament, and they come into force generally 21 days after being laid.

To prevent a negative instrument coming into force or remaining in force, a motion to annul it has to be agreed by the Parliament in the Chamber no later than 40 days after the instrument was laid. If no such motion is made, the instrument automatically becomes law.

This process is different to the affirmative procedure where an instrument will usually first be presented in draft format and will not come into force until it has been approve by Parliament.

The current proposed negative statutory instruments relevant to health, safety and environmental legislation are the:

Published statutory instruments

As time goes on, the negative instruments will be laid before Parliament and then passed into law. The following list shows the confirmed statutory instruments that will come into force on exit day, which is 29 March 2019 at 11pm:

  • Vehicle Drivers (Certificates of Professional Competence) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1004;
  • Timber and Timber Products and FLEGT (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1025;
  • Seal Products (Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1034;
  • Feed-in Tariffs and Contracts for Difference (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1092;
  • Electricity (Guarantees of Origin of Electricity Produced from Renewable Energy Sources) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1093;
  • Merchant Shipping (Monitoring, Reporting and Verification of Carbon Dioxide Emissions) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1388;
  • Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (England) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1120;
  • Rail Passengers’ Rights and Obligations (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2018 SI 2018/1165;
  • Merchant Shipping and Fishing Vessels (Health and Safety at Work) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1202;
  • Merchant Shipping (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1221;
  • Environmental Assessments and Miscellaneous Planning (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1232;
  • Planning (Hazardous Substances and Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1234;
  • Planning (Environmental Assessments and Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) (Northern Ireland) Regulations SI 2018/1235;
  • Ionising Radiation (Basic Safety Standards) (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1278;
  • Electricity and Gas (Powers to Make Subordinate Legislation) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1286;
  • Pipe-lines, Petroleum, Electricity Works and Oil Stocking (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1325;
  • CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1336;
  • INSPIRE (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1338;
  • Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1342;
  • Health and Safety (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1370;
  • Health and Safety (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1377;
  • Marine Environment (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1399;
  • Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) and the Railways (Accident Investigation and Reporting) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1400;
  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1405;
  • Air Quality (Miscellaneous Amendment and Revocation of Retained Direct EU Legislation) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1407;
  • Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2018/1408;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/9;
  • Fisheries (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/24;
  • Ionising Radiation (Environmental and Public Protection) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/24;
  • Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/25;
  • Environment (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment etc.) Regulations SSI 2019/26;
  • Drainage (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/31;
  • Water and Floods (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/32;
  • Renewables Obligation (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/35;
  • Environmental Permitting (England and Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/39;
  • Marine Environment (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/55;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/57;
  • Air Quality (Amendment of Domestic Regulations) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/74;
  • Town and Country Planning and Electricity Works (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations SSI 2019/80;
  • Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/84;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (England) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/88;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/90;
  • Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/94;
  • Control of Mercury (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/96;
  • INSPIRE (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/103;
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/107;
  • Pesticides (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/118;
  • Water (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/112;
  • Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) (EU Exit) (Scotland) (Amendment) Regulations SSI 2019/113;
  • Radioactive Contaminated Land (Modification of Enactments) (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/114;
  • Marketing of Seeds and Plant Propagating Material (Amendment) (England and Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/131;
  • Export Control (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/137;
  • Transfrontier Shipment of Radioactive Waste and Spent Fuel (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/156;
  • Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/188;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/190;
  • Nuclear Safeguards (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/196;
  • Metrology, Health and Safety and Product Safety (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/202;
  • Invasive Non-native Species (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/223;
  • Environmental Damage (Prevention and Remediation) (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/244;
  • Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes and the Environmental Impact Assessment (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/245;
  • Environmental Noise (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/247;
  • Merchant Shipping (Recognised Organisations) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/270;
  • Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/271;
  • Animal By-Products and Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/273;
  • Ship Recycling (Facilities and Requirements for Hazardous Materials on Ships) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/277;
  • Environmental Impact Assessment (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/279;
  • Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases and Ozone-Depleting Substances (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/281;
  • Environmental Protection (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/289;
  • Pesticides and Fertilisers (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/306;
  • Merchant Shipping and Other Transport (Environmental Protection) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/311;
  • Railways (Interoperability) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/345;
  • Fisheries and Marine Management (Amendment) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/370;
  • Roads (Environmental Impact Assessment) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/377;
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (Deliberate Release and Transboundary Movement) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/379;
  • Air Quality Standards (Wales) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/390;
  • Waste (Wales) (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/414;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/451;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (Amendment) (England and Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/452;
  • Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/453;
  • Town and Country Planning (Miscellaneous Amendments) (Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/456;
  • Environment (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/458;
  • Flood and Water (Amendments) (England and Wales) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/460;
  • Construction Products (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/465;
  • Merchant Shipping (Marine Equipment) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/470;
  • Environment and Wildlife (Legislative Functions) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/473;
  • Road Vehicles and Non-Road Mobile Machinery (Type-Approval) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/490;
  • Railways (Access, Management and Licensing of Railway Undertakings) (Amendments etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/518;
  • Electricity and Gas etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/530;
  • Gas (Security of Supply and Network Codes) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/531;
  • Electricity Network Codes and Guidelines (Markets and Trading) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/532;
  • Electricity Network Codes and Guidelines (System Operation and Connection) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/533;
  • Electricity and Gas (Market Integrity and Transparency) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/534;
  • Employment Rights (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/535;
  • Employment Rights (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/537;
  • Ecodesign for Energy-Related Products and Energy Information (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/539;
  • Storage of Carbon Dioxide (Amendment and Power to Modify) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/544;
  • Road Vehicle Emission Performance Standards (Cars and Vans) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/550;
  • Pesticides (Maximum Residue Levels) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/557;
  • Environment (Miscellaneous Amendments and Revocations) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/559;
  • Floods and Water (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/558;
  • Shipments of Radioactive Substances (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/571;
  • Conservation of Habitats and Species (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/579;
  • Aquatic Animal Health and Alien Species in Aquaculture (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/581;
  • Conservation (Natural Habitats, etc.) (Amendment) (Northern Ireland) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/582;
  • Ozone-Depleting Substances and Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/583;
  • International Waste Shipments (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/590;
  • Drivers’ Hours and Tachographs (Amendment) (EU Exit) (No. 2) Regulations SI 2019/596;
  • Fertilisers and Ammonium Nitrate Material (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/601;
  • Waste (Miscellaneous Amendments) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/620;
  • European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 (Consequential Modifications and Repeals and Revocations) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/628;
  • Merchant Shipping (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/630;
  • Aviation Noise (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/643;
  • Road Vehicles and Non-Road Mobile Machinery (Type-Approval) (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/648;
  • Detergents (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/672;
  • Product Safety and Metrology etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/696;
  • Railway (Licensing of Railway Undertakings) (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/700;
  • Licensing of Operators and International Road Haulage (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/708;
  • Common Agricultural Policy and Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/733;
  • REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations SI 2019/758.

We will keep this page updated with all the latest developments and proposed negative statutory instruments so you can keep track of any upcoming changes.

The UK has finally "agreed" on and published their Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community.

This details the terms reached by the European Commission and UK negotiators on the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community.

The Agreement covers all elements of the UK's withdrawal from the EU, including:

  • a transition period;
  • citizen's rights;
  • the financial settlement;
  • governance;
  • terms of a legally operational backstop to ensure no hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland;
  • Protocols on Cyprus and Gibraltar,

and a range of other separation issues including goods placed on the European market.

Transition period

The Agreement provides for a transition period until 31 December 2020. During this proposed period:

  • EU law will continue to apply to the UK as if it were an EU Member State;
  • the UK will participate in the EU Customs Union and the Single Market, with all four freedoms, and Union Policies;
  • all EU regulatory, budgetary, judiciary and enforcement instruments will apply, meaning the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) will have competence in the UK.

It is intended that this transition period will provide:

  • the UK and EU with time to negotiate a future relationship; and
  • national administrations and businesses with time to prepare for a new relationship.

During this period, the UK can't be bound by any new trade agreements on its own in areas of EU exclusive competence, unless authorised by the EU to do so.

On the withdrawal date, 11pm on 29 March 2019, the UK will have technically left the EU and so will no longer be a part of EU decision making from that point. This means the UK will not be represented in EU institutions, agencies and bodies, and will no longer participate in meetings of Member State groups, subject to exceptions.

During the transition period the UK can't act as a rapporteur for European authorities or Member States, this includes activities such as conducting a risk assessment for the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) or assessing the safety of a medicine.

An area of contention in particular in UK Parliament was around fisheries. Until the transition period ends, the UK will be bound by decisions on fishing opportunities. However the UK will be consulted on its fishing opportunities.

Extension of a transition period

There is the possibility to extend the transition period providing that this is done by mutual UK and EU agreement and decided by the Joint Committee by 1 July 2020.

The UK may request additional time to ensure a future agreement is made with the EU.

International agreements

During the transition period, the UK will be bound by obligations from all EU international agreements, including multilateral mixed agreements.

After the Withdrawal Agreement is signed the EU will notify other parties to international agreements of the consequences of the UK's withdrawal and will cover all international agreements. 

Common provisions

The provisions of the Withdrawal Agreement must have the same legal effects in the UK as in the EU and its Member States.

Until the end of the transition period when the UK leaves the EU, UK courts must abide by the principle of consistent interpretation with the CJEU case law. After this date UK courts should still pay regard to CJEU case law.

Specifically, the Agreement requires the UK to ensure compliance with the common provisions through domestic legislation, with the UK judicial and administrative authorities disapplying inconsistent or incompatible national law. 

Any reference to European law in the Withdrawal Agreement includes amendments made to it up until the last day of the transition period.

Unless specifically agreed otherwise, the UK will be disconnected from all EU networks and databases at the end of the transition period.

Citizen's rights

The Agreement safeguards the right to stay and continue their current activities for over 3 million EU citizens in the UK, and over 1 million UK nationals in EU countries.

It enables both EU citizens and UK nationals, as well as their respective family members, to continue to exercise their rights derived from EU law in each other's territories, for the rest of their lives, where those rights are based on life choices made before the end of the transition period.

EU and UK citizens, as well as their respective family members can continue to live, work or study as they currently do under the same substantive conditions as under EU law, benefiting in full from the application of the prohibition of any discrimination on grounds of nationality and of the right to equal treatment compared to host state nationals.

EU free movement will apply until the end of the transition period, after this EU and UK citizens will be able to remain and work or study in the UK or EU state.

Goods placed on the market

Goods lawfully placed on the market in the EU or the UK before the end of the transition period may continue to freely circulate in and between these two markets, until they reach their end-users, without any need for product modifications or re-labelling. This means that goods that will still be in the distribution chain at the end of the transition period can reach their end-users in the EU or the UK without having to comply with any additional product requirements.

However the movement of live animals and animal products between the EU market and the UK's market will, as from the end of the transition period, be subject to the applicable rules of the Parties on imports and sanitary controls at the border, regardless of whether they were placed on the market before the end of the transition period.

Euratom

The UK withdraws from Euratom and accepts sole responsibility for continued performance of nuclear safeguards and its international commitment to a future regime that provides coverage and effectiveness equivalent to existing Euratom arrangements. 

Euratom will transfer ownership of equipment and other property in the UK related to safeguards for which it will be compensated at book value to the UK.

This also means Euratom's international agreements will no longer apply to the UK and that the UK needs to engage with international partners in that context.

Ongoing judicial procedures

The CJEU will remain competent for judicial procedures concerning the UK registered at the CJEU before the end of the transition period, and those procedures will continue until a final binding judgment is given in accordance with EU rules. All stages of proceedings are concerned, including appeals or referrals back to the General Court. This allows for pending cases to reach completion in an orderly way.

Within four years from the end of the transition period, the Commission may bring before the CJEU new infringement cases against the UK, concerning breaches of Union law which occurred before the end of the transition period.

Financial settlement

The UK will honour its share of financing all the obligations undertaken while it was a member of the Union, in relation to the EU budget, the European Investment Bank, the European Central Bank, the Facility for Refugees in Turkey, EU Trust Funds, Council agencies and also the European Development Fund.

Environmental protection

The Agreement states a commitment to non-regression in the level of environmental protection in both the EU and the UK. It states that the UK will continue to respect the:

  • precautionary principle;
  • principle that preventive action should be taken;
  • principle that environmental damage should as a priority be rectified at source; and
  • polluter pays principle,

in environmental legislation.

The Joint Committee will adopt decisions that will apply from the end of the transition period and establish minimum commitments for:

  • the reduction of national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants;
  • the maximum sulphur content of marine fuels which may be used in territorial seas including in the North Sea, Baltic Sea area and in EU and UK ports;
  • best available techniques including emission limit values, in relation to industrial emissions.

Both the UK and the EU:

  • must take the necessary measures to meet their respective commitments to international agreements to address climate change;
  • reaffirm their commitment to implement the multilateral agreements they are are party to.

The UK must implement a system of carbon pricing at least the same effectiveness and scope as that set out in Directive 2003/87/EC on scheme for greenhouse gas emission allowance trading within the Community (EU Emissions Trading Scheme).

An independent body in the UK must implement a transparent system to ensure effective domestic monitoring, reporting and oversight of its environmental protection obligations. This body must have powers to conduct inquiries concerning alleged breaches by public bodies and UK authorities.

Labour and social standards

The Agreement states a commitment to the non-regression of labour and social standards in both the EU and the UK. This includes ensuring:

  • fundamental rights at work;
  • occupational health and safety;
  • fair working conditions;
  • employment standards;
  • information and consultation rights at company level,

do not reduce below the common standards at the EU and UK level.

Protocol on Ireland and Northern Ireland

One of the key issues in withdrawal negotiations has been the prevention of a hard border between Ireland and Northern Ireland and the so-called 'backstop'.

If an agreement on the future EU-UK relationship is not applicable by 31 December 2020, the EU and the UK have agreed that a backstop solution will apply until such a time as a subsequent agreement is in place.

In a backstop scenario, a single EU-UK customs territory will be established from the end of the transition period until the future relationship becomes applicable. Northern Ireland will therefore remain part of the same customs territory as the rest of the UK with no tariffs, quotas, or checks on rules of origin between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Negotiations on the future EU-UK relationship will only be conducted during the transition period, consequently this legally operational backstop guarantees that no hard border returns – whatever the circumstances.

What next?

It is up to the President of the European Council to decide whether and when to convene a meeting of the 27 Heads of State or Government. This has currently been announced by Donald Tusk for 25 November 2018. It will be up to the European Council to endorse the withdrawal agreement and the joint political declaration on the framework of the future relationship.

Once the European Council endorse the Withdrawal Agreement, and before it can enter into force, it needs to be ratified by the EU and the UK. For the EU, this means the European Council must authorise the signature, before sending it to the European Parliament for its consent.

The United Kingdom must ratify the Agreement according to its own constitutional arrangements. This will mean any Agreement will need to pass a Parliamentary vote.

For more information, see the:

The extension of permitted development rights to allow high street conversions to offices and homes comes into effect on 25 May 2019.

The Town and Country Planning (Permitted Development, Advertisement and Compensation Amendments) (England) Regulations SI 2019/907, were laid before Parliament earlier this month and do not include the right to allow upward extensions.

The legislation creates a new class, JA, in Part 3 of Schedule 2 the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order SI 2015/596. It allows local authorities to consider proposals for the conversion of shops and other high street uses such as takeaways and laundrettes to offices under the prior approval process.

Furthermore, Class M of Part 3 of Schedule 2 to the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order SI 2015/596 already allows retail and unique uses to be converted to residential without the need for planning permission, but the new amendments would allow takeaways to be converted into housing.

The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) group has responded to the legislation, claiming that making some development easier risks undermining local community and authority influence.

CPRE said it fears that extending this policy would enable developers to convert shops and local businesses without scrutiny, removing decisions and control from local authorities. Furthermore, local people would have little input over the type and tenure of developments on their high streets.

Matt Thomson, head of planning at CPRE said, "we welcome any reasonable measures that lead to the more effective use of previously developed land, and support the increased densification of urban areas. However, this plan is of deep concern. It presents a short-sighted attempt to increase housing numbers, undermines the planning system and ignores a variety of issues and complexities which should be taken into account for such proposals".

"A blanket approach for uncontrolled redevelopment of commercial buildings is unlikely to lead to good placemaking. It remains unclear how extending permitted development rights will ensure high-quality, affordable redevelopment - that connects with existing, and contributes to, new infrastructure - without the intervention of a normal planning application".

A number of organisations have expressed concerns about extending permitted development rights, including the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI). In March, the institute urged housing and planning minister Kit Malthouse to scrap proposals that would see commercial buildings on high streets be converted into homes without planning permission.

For more information on this subject, see:

  • The Town and Country Planning (Permitted development, Advertisement and Compensation Amendments) (England) Regulations SI 2019/907.

In November 2018, a planning application for a coffee shop in Christchurch, Devon, was refused. The applicant wanted to convert a Grade II listed building from use as a shop (which is class A1) into a coffee shop (class A3). However, Christchurch Borough Council rejected the application as it conflicted with local policies.

The planning policy in question was that non-retail uses cannot cumulatively amount to more than 30% of all ground floor units within the designated Primary Shopping Frontage (PSF). The appeal site was within the PSF, and non-retail uses are already over that 30% target. In line with this policy, the planning application was refused as it would exacerbate the situation.

The applicant did not contest that the proposal conflicted with local planning policies. However, it was pointed out that extensive marketing for the vacant Grade II listed property over a long period of time had failed to attract a retailer. The appellant also took into consideration several other available properties, all of which were too small for the proposed use.

Another key point raised in the appeal was that the sale of take-away food and drinks, as well as some retail goods, was expected to make up around 40% of the total trade of the proposed coffee shop. The inspector, S. Edwards, could not ignore the fact that this retail element of the proposed use constitutes a significant aspect of the development. Given the local policy is driven towards retail rather than non-retail use, this factor had to be taken into consideration.

Furthermore, the coffee shop would bring a listed building back into use after a prolonged vacancy. This would help to sustain and enhance the heritage asset, which is a key consideration of paragraph 192(a) of the National Planning Policy Framework.

Taking all of these arguments into consideration, the inspector decided, on balance:

  • the proposed use would actually help the vitality and viability of the town centre, rather than detract from it;
  • there is a conflict with a key local policy, but there wasn't enough evidence to show that the coffee shop would have a detrimental effect, so little weight can be given to the conflict in the appeal;
  • the benefits of bringing the building back into use are attractive, as it is expected to be vacant for the foreseeable future should the planning application be rejected.

As a result of this, the Inspector approved the planning application, imposing conditions on the planning permission, including a condition to restrict the use as a coffee shop only and also restricting the hours of operation to protect the nearby residents.

For more information, see the:

Sanders Plant and Waste Management Ltd have been fined after an employee was fatally injured when he was struck by a reversing JCB loading shovel.

Newcastle upon Tyne Crown Court heard that in June 2015 a wheeled front-loaded shovel was being operated in the the main waste processing shed at the company's waste recycling facility in Morpeth. The vehicle, driven by another employee, was loading waste into both a trommel, a large waste separation and sifting machine, and a parked haulage vehicle. During the course of this operation the vehicle struck a site operative, who was fatally injured and died at the scene from his injuries.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found evidence of a lack of pedestrian and vehicle segregation in the waste shed, meaning that pedestrians and vehicles could not circulate in a safe manner. The company had carried out a risk assessment prior to the incident that identified some control measures to reduce the risks from operating the loading shovel and a Fork Lift Truck on site. However, these control measures had not been fully implemented nor were they sufficient to manage the risk of collision between vehicles and pedestrians.

There was also no risk assessment or traffic management plan considering the safe movement of vehicles across the site.

Sanders Plant and Waste Management Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, was fined £500,000 with costs of £14,041.96.

After the hearing HSE inspector Laura Catterall said, the "HSE investigation found an inadequate assessment of the risks of vehicle movements in the waste shed and a lack of segregation of vehicles and pedestrians. There are more than 5,000 accidents involving transport in the workplace every year, and, like in this case, sadly, some are fatal".

"A properly implemented transport risk assessment should have identified sufficient measures to segregate people and vehicles and provide safe facilities".

A family member of the operative added "more than anything my whole family don't want anyone else to lose their life and another family to go through what my family has gone through and is still going through".

Launching a major, long-term strategy to tackle flooding and coastal change, Environment Agency Chair, Emma Howard Boyd has said "we cannot win a war against water" by building higher flood defences, and called for a new approach to ensure communities are resilient to the threat of flooding posed by climate change.

Opening an 8-week consultation on the new strategy, Boyd said that the Environment Agency is preparing for a potential 4°C rise in global temperature and urgent action is needed to tackle more frequent, intense flooding and sea level rise.

Among the recommendations in the strategy, the Environment Agency has committed to working with partners to develop consistent standards for flood and coastal resilience across the country. To achieve these standards, communities should have access to a range of tools which give them control of how they prepare for and respond to flooding and coastal change, based on specific challenges that area may face.

These could include traditional defences, temporary barriers, natural flood management, sustainable drainage systems, effective flood warnings and emergency response, alongside designing and adapting existing properties and new developments so they can recover quickly from a flood.

Boyd said "the coastline has never stayed in the same place and they have always been floods, but climate change is increasing and accelerating these threats".

"We can't win a war against water by building away climate change with infinitely high flood defences. We need to develop consistent standards for flood and coastal resilience in England that help communities better understand their risk and give them more control about how to adapt and respond".

Currently two thirds of properties in England are served by infrastructure in areas at risk of flooding and for every person who suffers flooding, around 16 more are affected by loss of services such as power, transport and telecommunications.

The Strategy calls for all infrastructure to be flood resilient by 2050 and the Environment Agency has committed to working with risk management authorities and infrastructure providers to achieve this. In addition an average of £1 billion will need to be invested each year in traditional flood and coastal defences and natural flood management. The National Audit Office has previously reported that for every £1 spent on protecting communities, around £9 in property damages and wider impacts are avoided.

As well as taking precautions to prepare for flooding and prevent damage, the strategy calls for more to be done to encourage property owners to "build back better" after a flood. This could involve home improvements to make them more resilient, such as raised electrics, hard flooring and flood doors. The Environment Agency will work with the Government, insurers and financial institutions to review how to bring about this change by 2025.

Over 5 million people in England are at risk from flooding and coastal erosion. Yet only a third of people who live in areas at risk of flooding believe their property is at risk. The Strategy pledges to build a nation of 'climate champions' working with the school curriculum to educate young people about the risk, and continuing to develop accessible digital tools to communicate flooding.

The Strategy also recommends:

  • as properties built in the flood plain are likely to double over the next 50 years due to population growth and climate change, between now and 2030 all new development must be resilient to flooding and coastal change;
  • flooding and coastal change projects should support local economic regeneration, unlocking potential for new housing and business;
  • all new development must not only be resilient to flooding but should also contribute to an environmental net gain;
  • the Government, Environment Agency and risk management authorities need to be agile to the latest climate science, growth projections, investment opportunities and other changes to our local environment;
  • in some cases, the scale of flooding or coastal change may be so significant the concept of "build back better" may not be appropriate. This may mean potentially moving communities out of harm's way in the longer term.

The Flood and Coastal Management Strategy consultation is due to run from 9 May 2019 until 4 July 2019. Once closed, the Environment Agency will review the responses and publish a final document which will then be laid before Parliament in Winter 2019.

This Strategy forms part of the Government's commitments set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan to improve the environment within a generation, leaving it in a better state than we found it.

Lord Deben, Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change said "everyone can see climate change accelerating. The UK urgently needs to stay ahead of worsening impacts by adapting. The Environment Agency is doing just that by setting out their flood strategy but we won't be able to keep up with the pace of change if we don't reduce emissions to zero".

For more information on this subject, see:


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