Environment and agriculture

In this section

What sectors will be affected?
Air quality

What sectors will be affected?

A no deal Brexit will have a significant impact on our food, farming, fishing and environment sectors. These are important to the rural economy and also support the sustainability of the Welsh language.

Assess your business on 6 key areas to measure your readiness for Brexit on Business Wales.

Immediately after the referendum vote, we established the Brexit Ministerial Roundtable Group, made up of key stakeholders to work together to achieve the best outcome for Wales.

In February 2018, we published the EU scenarios report developed by the roundtable group. This set out how a number of scenarios, including a no deal Brexit could potentially impact our sectors. Since then, the Welsh Government has taken a number of actions to prepare for all scenarios, including no deal.

These include:

  • investing in new, state-of-the-art vessels ready for the additional marine enforcement requirements post-Brexit.
  • launching a new Business Wales portal to assess your business’ readiness for Brexit.
  • working to develop our food and drink industry post-Brexit, including a new Food and Drink Action Plan.
  • consulting on Brexit and our Land, which sets out our proposals for support to farmers post-Brexit.
  • a number of EU Transition Fund projects, including training more vets to undertake the extra paperwork that may be necessary and a benchmarking project for our red meat industry.

Even in the event of a no deal scenario, some things will not change.

The Welsh Government remains committed to implementing our policies and legislation to protect our marine environment and improve air quality. We have worked to transfer EU legislation that will work for Wales from day one. We are continuing to work with stakeholders to ensure we achieve the best outcome for Wales.


The information below sets out the regulatory processes that will change in the event of a no deal Brexit. The Welsh Government has worked closely with Defra to ensure the information contained in its technical notices is relevant to Wales. If there is a transition period, then things will not change in the short term.

Alongside these regulatory issues, there will be business decisions about matters such as sourcing ingredients; additional costs associated with tariffs; customs requirements and supply issues that you will need to make. There may also be delays to travel routes that affect your businesses. More support and advice is available from the Business Wales website and the Farming Connect website.

Information and tools about Brexit are also available on the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board website.

Further information

Employing EU seasonal workers after the UK leaves the EU on GOV.UK
Farming Connect: Is your business prepared for Brexit?
An update on existing trade agreements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on GOV.UK
The farming sector and preparing for EU exit on GOV.UK

Well-being support

It’s important that everyone takes care of their personal wellbeing. There are 3 main charities working together under the umbrella name Farming Help that can help:

The Farming Help helpline can be accessed on 03000 111999 and is available between 9am and 11pm every day of the year. More information can be found at www.farminghelp.co.uk

Farm Community Network is a voluntary organisation and charity that supports farmers and families within the farming community. More information can be found at www.fcn.org.uk or to talk to someone phone 03000 111999.

Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution is a welfare charity which helps farming people in financial difficulty and operates throughout England and Wales. More information can be found at www.rabi.org.uk or by emailing info@rabi.org.uk or contacting the freephone helpline on 0808 2819490.

The Addington Fund  is a charity who’s main area of work is to provide homes for farming families living in England and Wales who have to leave the industry, through no fault of their own, and by doing so will lose their home. More information can be found at www.addingtonfund.org.uk or by contacting the helpline on 01926 620135.

The DPJ Foundation aims to support people in rural communities with poor mental health, especially men in the agricultural sector. The foundation can offer counselling to farmers at their homes, via the internet or telephone.

More information can be found at www.thedpjfoundation.com or the foundation can be contacted on their Call line 0800 587 4262 or on their text line 07860 048799.

The Samaritans can be contacted 24-hours a day for free on 116 123.

Trade in animals and animal products

All current regulations relating to animal health and welfare will remain the same, this includes all legislation covering animal health and welfare in farming, slaughterhouses and the transport of live animals.

We will continue to focus on our TB eradication programme and remain prepared for any potential animal disease outbreak. There will be no additional checks and requirements on imported animals and animals products but there will be changes if you export live animals or products of animal origin, including:

  • additional export health certification from suitably-qualified vets
  • changing rules around the movement of horses
  • requirements for labelling
  • changes in the route to market. Animal and product exports will also have to enter the EU through certain designated Border Inspection Points (BIPs).

Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) information

The VMD's communications on EU Exit, including guidance on how you can prepare.

VMD EU Exit Information Hub on GOV.UK.

Further information

Preparing for changes at the border if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK 
Exporting animals, animal products, fish and fishery products to the EU after EU Exit on GOV.UK
Apply for an Export Health Certificate on GOV.UK
Moving live animals or animal products as part of EU trade on GOV.UK
Export horses and ponies: special rules on GOV.UK
Check GOV.UK regularly for the latest advice on equine movements in advance of the UK leaving the EU.
Prepare your business for the UK leaving the EU if your business deals in food or animal feed on FOOD.GOV.UK

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and Rural Development Programme (RDP) 2014-20

All existing schemes under the CAP and RDP will continue to operate as normal. This means the Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) for our farmers will stay the same in 2019 and 2020 and all RDP land-based contracts (Glastir and Woodland) will need to be delivered under the existing rules and regulations.

All grant offers under the RDP socio-economic schemes will also continue to operate under existing rules and regulations.

Payment of all claims received after the 29 March will be honoured by the Treasury’s guarantee.

Further information

Rural Payments Wales on GOV.WALES
Farm Payments if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK

Plant health, seeds and plant propagating material

EU plant variety rights granted up to EU exit, including those held by UK businesses, will continue to be recognised in the remaining 27 EU countries. All regulations regarding pesticides will also remain valid. However, the following will change if there is a no deal Brexit:

  • requirements for importing and exporting plants
  • arrangements for trading endangered species
  • arrangements for genetically-modified organisms
  • arrangements for plant variety rights and marketing of seed and propagating material

Further information

Plant variety rights and marketing plant reproductive material if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on GOV.UK
Importing and exporting plants and plant products if there's no withdrawal deal on GOV.UK

Food export and imports

If you are a UK-approved establishment that:

  • currently exports POAO into the EU, or
  • if you are considering doing so in the near future, or
  • if you supply products to others that export to the EU

you need to contact the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, we will need to be listed by the EU as a third country, gaining approval to continue exporting products of animal origin (POAO), such as meat, fish, shellfish, eggs and dairy products to the EU.

We cannot be certain of the EU response or its timing. So the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), is taking steps to gain listed third country status for the UK.

As the FSA administers the UK’s central approved establishment database, the FSA will coordinate the collection of establishment-specific information for the UK application on behalf of Defra.

What do you need to do now?

If you are a UK-approved establishment that currently exports POAO into the EU, if you are considering doing so in the near future, or if you supply products to others that export to the EU, you must provide the following:

  • Confirmation that you would like to be included on the list of approval by the EU to export POAO into the EU.
  • The product(s) and volume of material exported to the EU by your establishment over the last 12 months and the number of consignments dispatched to the EU.
  • All product(s) and volume of material produced by your establishment in the last 12 months that is not exported.

Please send this information together with your approval number, address and contact details, (email address, telephone number and name) to eulistings@food.gov.uk. In sending this information to the FSA, you consent to the FSA providing this information to Defra for them to share with the EU as part of the application process.

Food safety and ingredients

All regulations relating to food safety and rules about ingredients set out by the Food Standards Agency will remain the same.

There will be no change to food imports and it is anticipated that foods holding geographical indication status under the EU’s PGI, PDO and TSG schemes will continue to be recognised by the EU.

In the event of a no deal Brexit, these are things that will change. Further information is available in the technical notices issued by Defra – the Welsh Government has worked with Defra to ensure the information is correct and relevant for Wales:

  • labelling and ingredients for food products will need to change and there will be specific arrangements for trading natural mineral waters.
  • arrangements for trading bonded goods, such as alcohol
  • products will need to be exported via a Border Inspection Point (BIP) if they contain ingredients of animal origin and will need additional health certification. (See the sections about trade in animals and animal products).

The Diagnostic and Brexit scorecard app has been designed to support Welsh food and drink businesses post-Brexit. It provides real time information about the industry and helps businesses respond to the challenges and opportunities Brexit presents. It also enables businesses to review the strengths and weaknesses of their business at any time and benchmark themselves against the industry norms. A facility has been set up through our delivery agents Cywain to access this Business Readiness app. For information and updates visit the Food and Drink website.

Further information

The food and drink sector and preparing for EU exit on GOV.UK
Food labelling changes after Brexit on GOV.UK
Trading and labelling organic food if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Preparing for changes at the border if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Trading with the EU if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Food Standards Agency


The Welsh Government supports remaining within EU REACH. However, we are working with the UK government to plan a separate UK regime for chemicals regulation if there is a no deal Brexit.

This will inevitably create new burdens for companies trading in the UK and the EU, which will have to comply with 2 regulatory systems. The following areas will change if there is a no deal Brexit:

  • classification, labelling, and packaging of chemicals (CLP)
  • registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH)
  • export and import of hazardous chemicals
  • regulation of biocidal products, mercury, persistent organic pollutants (POPs), pesticides, fertilisers, and ozone-depleting and fluorinated gases

Further information

The chemicals sector and preparing for EU Exit on GOV.UK
Latest guidance on CLP, REACH, export and import, biocides, mercury, POPs and pesticides on HSE.gov.uk

Chemicals and EU Exit- Additional Guidance- What businesses need to do if there's no Brexit deal

Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR) on HSE.GOV.UK
Classification Labelling and Packaging (CLP) on HSE.GOV.UK
Prior Informed Consent (PIC) on HSE.GOV.UK
How to comply with pesticide regulations after Brexit on GOV.UK
Manufacturing and marketing fertilisers if there’s no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Using and trading in fluorinated gases and ozone depleting substances if there’s no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Register for a fluorinated (F gas) account on GOV.UK

Air quality

The Welsh Government has worked to transfer EU legislation to ensure it works for Wales. Work to improve air quality in Wales will continue as normal, as will the work with Defra and the other devolved administrations to tackle air pollution across the UK after EU exit.

Further information

Industrial emissions standards (‘best available techniques’) if there’s no Brexit deal on GOV.UK

Shipping waste into and out of the EU

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, the arrangements regarding licencing for shipments of waste will change. Current approvals to ship notified waste between the UK and the EU beyond the 29 March 2019 would be subject to a re-approval process. Defra is currently discussing new arrangements with other Member States in the EU.

Any business in Wales intending to import/export wastes to or from the EU should seek further advice from the Natural Resources Wales website or e-mail waste-shipments@naturalresourceswales.gov.uk

Further information

Maintaining the continuity of waste shipments if there’s no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Partnership pack: preparing for changes at the UK border after a no deal EU exit on GOV.UK

Decarbonisation and Energy

Welsh Government is working within its devolved areas of responsibility to ensure existing policy objectives, including delivering on our low-carbon ambitions, are not impeded by exiting the EU. We are working with the UK government to plan for a no-deal Brexit, including on ensuring that the replacement legislation, as well as the approach to future policy-making works for Wales. However, most aspects of energy policy, such as energy pricing & energy security, are the responsibility of the UK government as they are not devolved to Wales.

Further information

Energy and Climate after Brexit on GOV.UK
Meeting climate change requirements if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Generating low-carbon electricity if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Running an oil or gas business if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Trading gas with the EU if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Trading electricity if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK

Further information on the Carbon Emissions Tax can be found on GOV.UK:
HMRC Carbon Emissions Tax Policy Paper
HMRC Carbon Emissions Tax Supplementary Document

Following Brexit, the rules about how personal data flows between the EU and the UK will change. Visit the Information Commissioner’s website to find out more about how these changes will affect you or your organisation.

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