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Sunset Clauses (New Regulations)

Volume 525: debated on Tuesday 22 March 2011

I am publishing today the guidance prepared by the Better Regulation Executive to assist Departments in implementing the Government’s commitment to introduce sunset clauses in new regulations.

The policy that is set out in the guidance will contribute to the Government’s goal of transforming the role of regulation in our society. Where regulation is no longer needed, or where it results in disproportionate burdens, the use of review and sunset clauses will help ensure that it is removed. It will strengthen the current process of post-implementation review, and also promote greater transparency and scrutiny of Departments’ regulatory activities.

The initial focus for the policy will be new domestic regulation introduced by Whitehall Departments that results in a net burden on business and civil society organisations, and domestic legislation implementing new EU obligations. The Government’s intention is that all measures that are in scope will be subject to a statutory review obligation, with those domestic measures implemented through secondary legislation also subject to a sunset provision. For secondary legislation, implementation in each case will be subject to the vires under which the relevant regulations are made.

Ministers will be under an obligation to carry out and publish a review of the regulation within five years of it coming into force. The review will look at whether the regulation is effective in meeting its original objectives, whether it is still required, and whether it can be improved. Where there is a sunset clause Ministers may also, depending on the outcome of the review, need to renew the legislation in order for the regulation to remain in force. The renewal, amendment, or revocation of regulations resulting from the new policy will be carried out through existing legislative processes.

The guidance is being published on the BIS website at: http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/better-regulation/better-regulation-executive/reducing-regulation-made-simple /reviewing-existing-regulations/pirs-and-sunset-reviews. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.