Northern Ireland Protocol could see a wide range of new regulations imposed on NI, says committee of MPs

The NI Protocol could see the EU impose a wide range of new regulations on NI that would not apply to GB, according to a committee of MPs.

By Philip Bradfield
Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 5:54 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th February 2022, 7:00 pm

A new report from MPs on the Commons European Scrutiny Committee says that EU proposals could see millions of pounds of new regulatory costs imposed on NI but not GB.

MPs said the proposals will make current controls in the EU and NI more stringent than in GB and add to the list of restricted chemicals in waste. Under the terms of the NI Protocol, NI must follow the European regulations on chemical waste.

If introduced, MPs say, the EU plans will see some construction waste in NI diverted from landfill to incinerators in GB and see collections for ash from domestic wood and coal burning potentially separated – which could cost more than £1m per year. Dealing with household ash would also incur an additional estimated one-off cost of £5.4m.

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The NI Protocol threatens to impose a range of new regulations on NI that would not apply to GB.

The EU plans target Persistent Organic Pollutants - substances that remain intact in the environment over long periods and are harmful to the environment, wildlife and human health. Persistent Organic Pollutants are particularly dangerous because they increase in concentration as they travel up the food chain and with the passage of time. Fortunately, many are no longer used in new products but still appear in waste.

The chemical regulations are part of a raft of retained EU laws – laws transposed into UK law to avoid a post-Brexit legal cliff-edge – which are treated differently in courts to UK-made laws.

The latest report from the committee also details ongoing analysis of a range of other developing issues which could see NI suffer significantly different regulations compared to Great Britain - again due to the terms of the NI Protocol.

The report includes analysis on the potential impact on the UK of EU proposals concerning the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), which sets an absolute limit or ‘cap’ on the total amount of greenhouse gases that can be emitted each year.

It also examines a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which – if implemented as proposed – would see carbon-intensive goods incurring a border levy and administrative costs when entering the EU and Northern Ireland from Great Britain and the rest of the world.

The report also considers ongoing differences being made on livestock movements to NI, and access to benefits and healthcare, with implications for those EU and UK citizens still able to exercise EU free movement rights.

:: Read the report in full here.

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