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Whether you voted in or out - post-Brexit Britain will have to consider what to do with the following laws

It’s been a funny old summer for the UK, and many people are wondering 'what next?' So, your team at Blanchards Bailey has prepared a rundown of topical laws that may or may not change following Brexit. 

There is no doubt that the volume of EU directives and rules is vast - for many people the bureaucracy of the organisation and number of laws was a key reason to vote to leave.

However, doing away with many of these laws could see a noticeable change in our way of life.

We took a look at 10 stand-out examples of EU laws that govern our lives – some that a post-Brexit government may eventually choose to abolish, and others that will probably remain.

Even after the Government negotiates our departure from the Union, these laws will remain in place for at least two years due to Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union.

What's your view? We've avoided opinion and simply share the realities so you can make up your own mind. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to talk about this, or anything else that is on your mind.


1.    Beautiful bananas

We may soon have to wave goodbye to beautiful bananas. In 1993, the EU drew up Regulation 404/93 which enforced a new EC-wide banana import regime. A 56 page EU document explains what constitutes a standard quality banana, and which bananas are misshapen and therefore sub-standard. It’s an odd one, but lifting the regulation will allow supermarkets to sell what were previously considered ‘sub-standard’ bananas for full price. With supermarkets now championing “wonky veg” (albeit at lower prices) shoppers are more open to less aesthetically pleasing fruit and veg, but will this open the door to looser quality assurance on fresh produce or give our agricultural clients greater ability to sell their produce? 


2.     Privacy

In the interconnected world we live in, many feel that there is too much information available at the click of a button. In 2010, a man from Spain who’d previously had his home repossessed, said that this information being searchable on Google was a violation of his privacy. The EU court found in his favour and passed the Right to Be Forgotten law which ruled that people have the right to demand that personal information can be removed from search engines if it is ‘inaccurate, inadequate, irrelevant or excessive’.

Leaving the EU means that British citizens may no longer have the right to be forgotten. It would be down to our own government to consider how best to protect our privacy.


3.     Protecting our nature

Some of the county’s best loved sites are protected by EU law, such as the Dorset Heathlands and the Dorset coast. EU laws, like the Nature Directive help us to protect and re-introduce nature across the UK. The present farming minister and prominent leave campaigner, George Eustice, told The Guardian that "the birds and habitats directives will go" when we leave the EU, saying " The directives’ framework is so rigid that it is spirit-crushing”. Leaving the EU could result in less rigid regulations on protected sites across the country, but less support for threatened UK species.


4.     The Common Fisheries Policy

The Common Fisheries Policy gives European fishing fleets equal access to the waters of all EU members within 12 nautical miles of their coastline. This, and the quota restriction on fish stocks, have long been a point of dispute for British fishermen. Brexit could see British fishing fleets regain complete control of the waters beyond the Dorset coastline.


5.     Banking

Banking regulations have a long history of debate in the EU. When they were first discussed, the UK was in favour of light regulations. The Capital Requirements Directive IV protects us from economic shock and ensures that banks finance economic activity and growth. But it is expensive for the UK economy.

However, after the banking crisis of 2008 it is unlikely the new look government will loosen banking regulations without long deliberation.


6.     Diabetic drivers

According to EU law people suffering from diabetes mellitus should only be issued with driving licences in very exceptional circumstances. The law followed on from concerns that those who need regular insulin injections could cause accidents because of dips in blood sugar affecting their concentration. This regulation came under scrutiny by David Cameron in 2011, who ridiculed the law, and only time will tell if Theresa May has the same opinion.


7.     Water sanitation

The EU is very strict about water sanitation. Friends of the Earth state 'Thanks to the EU 95% of our beaches are clean enough to wade out into the sea'. They cite 'the EU's 1976 Bathing Water Directive - and successful legal action by the European Commission ' as being the reason our beaches are as clean, clear and swimmable as they are today. It is highly unlikely that leaving the EU will mean poor water sanitation, but some regulations could be relaxed.


8.    Weekly working hours

Many of our clients and their employees already work long hours to continue to produce the good work they pride themselves on. Employers could have licence to extend these hours once the UK leaves the European Union. EU law states it is illegal to force a member of staff to work for an average of more than 48 hours a week. Leaving the EU could mean employers have the right to extend the working week for their employees, if they so wish.

It is suggested that the law’s restrictions are costing employers about £4 billion a year. However, prominent Brexit campaigner and Theresa May’s former opponent, Andrea Leadsom said; “In the area of employment I wouldn’t expect to see deregulation.”

So we might expect to see this law maintained.


9.     Vacuum Cleaners, hair dryers, kettles, toasters

July 2013 saw the European Commission impose regulations setting higher standards for vacuum cleaners and their use of energy. It meant that restrictions were placed on selling powerful vacuum cleaners in EU states, to which vacuum giant, Dyson said; “defied belief.” Leaving the EU could mean shoppers will be free to buy powerful, energy guzzling vacuum cleaners. Just before Brexit, the EU had proposed similar regulations on appliances like hair dryers, kettles and toasters, now unlikely to be passed in the UK, which is great news for those who like their efficient morning routine.


10.  Temporary agency workers

The Temporary Agency Workers Directive was passed to ensure that temporary workers hired through recruitment agencies receive the same pay and conditions as the fulltime staff in the same business, performing the same role. This is unlikely to change following Brexit.

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