On 29 September 2020, the House of Lords is due to debate a motion to approve the draft Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020.

The instrument makes amendments to the framework for regulating the transport of dangerous goods (eg chemicals, such as petrol) and transportable pressure equipment (eg gas canisters) which will apply after the UK-EU transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

The instrument has been laid under the powers of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, which allows ministers to make secondary legislation to fix discrepancies in retained EU law that will be transferred onto the UK statute book at the end of the transition period. It is subject to the ‘draft affirmative’ procedure and would come into force at the end of the transition period (or “implementation period (IP) completion day” as referred to in the regulations), currently 31 December 2020.


The instrument amends regulations made in 2009, which transposed the EU dangerous goods directive (2008/68/EC) into UK law. The directive provided for the safe and secure transport of dangerous goods, such as hazardous chemicals, gases, petrol and diesel, and flammable products such as explosives and fireworks. It related to transport by road, rail and inland waterway.

The 2009 regulations were amended again in 2011. This transposed the EU transportable pressure equipment directive (2010/35/EU) into UK law. The directive placed obligations upon those involved in the transportable pressure equipment (TPE) industry, which involves the manufacture and transportation of gas cylinders, canisters and associated products. The directive provided for the appointment of ‘notified bodies’ to certify and carry out periodic inspections on TPE. It also mandated the use of a pi (π) marking system on TPE products within the EU to confirm that they meet those standards.

The EU directives, in turn, implemented United Nations (UN) agreements on the transport of dangerous goods in EU member states. The UN agreements comprised the:

What does the instrument do?

The instrument makes amendments to the Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/1348), the instrument which transposes the EU directives.

The explanatory memorandum sets out the purpose and effect of the instrument. In summary, the instrument will:

  • amend references in the 2009 regulations to the UK being an EU member state;
  • maintain the dangerous goods regulatory framework and the international process behind it, to allow ministers to “grant authorisations and implement new exceptions to and apply existing derogations” from the standards imposed by the directives;
  • maintain the recognition of the EU’s pi marking system for TPE and allow for the optional use of a UK marking system using the Greek letter ‘rho’; and
  • implement an aspect of the Northern Ireland Protocol of the UK-EU withdrawal agreement, which requires that TPE placed on the Northern Ireland market continues to comply with the EU TPE directive. The regulations will also recognise TPE on the Great Britain (GB) market which has been manufactured and/or conformity assessed by an inspection body in Northern Ireland.

The explanatory memorandum stated that the requirements for those involved in the transport of dangerous goods within GB are not being changed by the regulations.

For those operating in the TPE industry, the memorandum stated that the instrument will make amendments so that:

what were, prior to this instrument, notified bodies in GB, can continue their role as appointed bodies for TPE that is either for non-EU or non-Northern Ireland use, or for transporting dangerous goods between the GB and the EU or Northern Ireland…

What parliamentary scrutiny has the instrument received?

The regulations were laid before Parliament on 7 July 2020 under the draft affirmative procedure. They must be approved by both Houses before they can enter into force. If approved, they would come into force on 31 December 2020.

The House of Commons Delegated Legislation Committee held a short debate on the regulations on 15 September 2020. The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport, Rachel Maclean, noted that the carriage of dangerous goods is devolved in Northern Ireland and said that the regulations would:

ensure that Great Britain continues to work to the same requirements and standards in the carriage of dangerous goods at the end of the transition period, providing legal certainty for the participants.

Matt Rodda, the Shadow Minister for Transport, said that the Opposition broadly supported the instrument. However, he said that EU regulations “have played an important role in raising environmental standards in the UK” and that he wanted to “reiterate the importance of maintaining our high standards” as the UK leaves the EU.

The committee voted to agree to the regulations and the House of Commons formally approved them on 16 September 2020.

The regulations have also been considered by both the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments and the House of Lords Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee, but neither drew them to the special attention of the House.

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Image by Calor Poole Cylinder Distribution Centre.