UK farming and food industry leaders have expressed concern about government plans to review and potentially revoke nearly 4,000 pieces of EU derived legislation.

Under the Retained EU Law Bill, which is currently going through the House of Lords, all EU legislation will be automatically revoked by the end of 2023, unless there is a proactive decision by a government minister to retain a particular law.

As well as government departments reviewing current legislation, it is also being sifted through by lobby organisations to see what should potentially be retained.

In June 2022, the UK government published a dashboard which catalogued around 2,400 pieces of EU legislation to be reviewed.

That dashboard was updated in January 2023, and now lists over 3,700 regulations, with some believing that this latest iteration still remains far from complete.

Nearly half of all these EU regulations fall under the scope of Defra, and include laws relating to food safety, the environment, as well as rules that impact farmers such as cattle identification, beef labelling legislation, carcase classification and origin labelling of meat.


During a debate in the House of Lords on Monday, numerous members expressed misgivings about the proposed bill.

“Here we are considering a rare situation – a complex bill that sets out to abolish many regulations and accepted and important rules, without the foggiest idea of what may or may not replace them,” said Tory peer Lord Kirkhope.

DAERA view

On enquiry, a DAERA spokesperson confirmed that it is working closely with counterpart departments in the UK and being consulted on the options being considered for the many individual pieces of legislation covered by the bill.

“With the agreement of ministers and the approval of the Assembly, NI can decide to retain legislation that the UK government decides to remove provided it falls within devolved competence,” the spokesperson added.

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