Review of EU laws aims to remove ‘overbearing regulations’ on data and tech

Citizens will also be invited to submit ideas for ‘reducing or eliminating regulation’

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The government is to conduct a review of EU laws that remain on the UK’s statute books, with the aim of stripping out “overbearing regulations” that stymie technology innovation and the use of data.

The examination of European legislation intends to “remove the ‘special status’ that EU retained law still enjoys in our legal framework and will determine how best to ensure that UK courts can no longer give undue precedence to EU-derived laws in future”, the government said.

Alongside this exercise, in the coming weeks Cabinet ministers from across government will “set out bold strategies and proposals for keeping the UK at the forefront of innovation and technology”.

This will include measures to “supercharge” the role of artificial intelligence in driving the country’s economic growth. Ministers will also unveil measures for “modernising outdated EU vehicle standards”, in a bid to boost the development of technologies such as drones and autonomous cars and watercrafts.

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The farming sector – in particular the role of “gene-edited organisms” – will also be the subject of regulatory reform. According to the government, this will “enable more sustainable and efficient farming and help produce healthier and more nutritious food”.

Work is also ongoing to remodel the UK’s post-Brexit data-protection regime, with the ambition of making it “more proportionate and less burdensome than the EU’s GDPR rules”.

Alongside government-led measures to revamp legislation, a mechanism will also be created through which all citizens will be invited to put forward “additional opportunities for cutting or reforming red tape and bureaucracy”. 

Proposals put forward by the public will be considered by a newly formed commission, which will then make recommendations for policy or legislative change – “but only if they go in the direction of reducing or eliminating regulation”, according to the government. 

Cabinet Office minister Lord Frost said: “From rules on data storage to the ability of businesses to develop new green technologies, overbearing regulations were often conceived and agreed in Brussels with little consideration of the UK national interest. We now have the opportunity to do things differently and ensure that Brexit freedoms are used to help businesses and citizens get on and succeed. Today’s announcement is just the beginning. The government will go further and faster to create a competitive, high-standards regulatory environment which supports innovation and growth across the UK as we build back better from the pandemic.”


Sam Trendall

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