The Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) has welcomed the UK government’s decision to scrap plans for all retained EU laws to automatically expire by the end of 2023, in the absence of a decision to preserve them. The institution had expressed concern that safety legislation could be affected by the sunset clause.

Under the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill, around 5000 laws could have been struck off including several major pieces of hazard legislation. IChemE said the 2023 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,’ said David Bogle, president of IChemE. ‘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.’

The government still plans to remove or replace 600 laws by the end of 2023, but IChemE said these did not appear to include ‘safety-critical legislation at this stage’.