Environment and agriculture

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.

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 and supporting the Blas Cymru/Taste Wales event in March 2019, which will bring together producers, buyers and food industry professionals.
  • 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.

Fisheries and trade

Quotas and technical fishing measures will not change in the short term, even if there is no deal. However, there is still uncertainty about what will happen in the medium to long term if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

It is likely it will have a significant impact on our fishing industry. In a no deal scenario, the UK will be treated as a third county, which will require additional steps such as:

  • export catch certificates and export health certificates
  • changes in labelling
  • changes in route to market, such as exporting through a Border Inspection Point (BIP)
  • changes to trade arrangements with countries outside the EU. For example, exporting whelks to South Korea is done under an EU trade agreement.
For further information and updates, sign up to our fisheries newsletter and follow us on Twitter  

Further information

Information for food and drink producers on businesswales.gov.wales
Commercial fishing and marketing of seafood if there’s no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Preparing for changes at the border if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK 

Travelling with your Pet

If you want to take your pet abroad, additional health requirements and documentation will be needed in the event of a no deal Brexit. These preparations will need to be discussed with your vet at least four months before you travel. Extra requirements include:

  • a blood test and vaccine against rabies
  • a health certificate
Further information

Pet travel to Europe after Brexit on GOV.UK

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).
Further information

Preparing for changes at the border if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK 
Exporting animals and animal products if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Taking horses abroad if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Importing animals and animal products if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Health marks on fish, meat and dairy if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK

Food Export and Imports

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

Food labelling changes after Brexit on GOV.UK
Producing and labelling food if there's no Brexit deal on GOV.UK   
Producing and processing 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

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


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
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
Regulating pesticides if there’s no Brexit deal 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

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 of seed and propagating material if there’s no Brexit deal on GOV.UK
Importing and exporting plants and plant products if there's no withdrawal 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.

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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