Regulating persistent organic pollutants if there’s a no-Brexit deal

How regulation of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) will change if there's a no-deal Brexit.

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The UK’s persistent organic pollutants (POPs) regulation will continue in its current form if there’s a no deal Brexit.

Current POPs regulation

The current EU POPs regulation implements, manages and enforces the international Stockholm Convention agreement on POPs and the Protocol to the 1979 Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution on POPs (CLRTAP).

‘Competent authorities’ in the UK manage permits and inventories, as well as some monitoring and enforcement of the regulations.

The competent authorities are:

After a no deal Brexit

Because the UK signed both the Stockholm Convention and the CLRTAP in its own right, all existing obligations and protections will continue.

The UK competent authorities will remain the same.

Production, placing on the market and use

The criteria for managing existing substances and new substances exhibiting characteristics of POPs will remain the same.

Future updates will reflect Stockholm Convention decisions and agreed scientific and technical progress.

You should contact the relevant competent authority if there are any concerns about a substance.

Exemptions from control measures

Exemptions from the restrictions agreed by the Stockholm Convention and set out in the current EU regulation will remain the same.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCB) inventories

Each competent authority will continue to keep a record of equipment containing PCBs to be destroyed.

You should continue to inform the relevant competent authority if equipment is identified as containing PCBs and when it has been safely destroyed.


Waste containing POPs substances must still be disposed of in a way that destroys or irreversibly transforms the POPs element.

You should continue to report stockpiles over a certain limit to the relevant competent authority.


The list of restricted, banned and monitored substances, with the exemptions, in the annexes to the current EU regulation will not change.

Waste management methods and concentration limits for individual substances set out in the annexes will not change.

Future updates will reflect Stockholm Convention decisions and an agreed scientific and technical progress.

New POPs substances

Identification of potential new POPs substances, with the exception of pesticides, will be managed initially through the UK chemicals regulatory regime that will replace REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals).

If all the characteristics of a POP emerge from the evidence gathering, the UK will develop a dossier for the Stockholm Convention’s POP Review Committee to assess.

Published 22 July 2019