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Much of our Environmental law originates from the EU. This includes EU Regulations such as REACH which are directly applicable in the UK, without the need for any UK implementing legislation. Other examples relevant to chemicals are the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) and the CLP Regulation (Classification, Labelling and Packaging).


This briefing considers the potential impact of a vote to leave the EU (“Brexit”) from a UK Chemical Compliance law perspective.


What would happen immediately after a Brexit?


It is likely to be business as usual immediately after a vote to leave the EU.


The general consensus is that two years is the likely minimum period before the UK would actually leave the EU. The complex issues involved suggest that a longer period may be necessary. There is a mechanism in the EU treaty for a Member State to withdraw from the EU (Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union). Under this, the UK would give notice to leave followed by a period of negotiation to agree terms of withdrawal. Exit would take place at the earliest on signing the withdrawal agreement or two years after notice is given. David Cameron has stated that he would give notice to the EU the day after a vote to leave, though there is debate as to whether notice is served automatically in those circumstances.


Uncertainty therefore is likely to prevail for a period of some years. The status quo is broadly expected to continue during that period.





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