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What’s new about the 2014 regulations?

From 1 October 2014 there will be a new version of the regulations. The Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2014 (the 2014 Regulations) will consolidate and revoke the 2000 regulations and its three sets of amending regulations (2002, 2005 and 2010). Some changes have been made to the 2014 Regulations which reflect experience of applying them since 2000, and make the regulations more risk based and proportionate. This will help businesses comply with the law. The guidance on the regulations (L29) has been amended to reflect these changes.

Why have the regulations changed?

In 2011, Professor Löfstedt’s report Reclaiming Health and Safety for All: An independent review of health and safety legislation recommended that the Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2000 and its amending regulations should be consolidated as part of a general process of consolidating health and safety law. This was on the basis that consolidation should not reduce the health and safety protection afforded by the current regulations. The Government accepted this recommendation, and committed to delivering the revised regulations by the end of 2014.

The consolidation process has taken the opportunity of making the regulations more risk based and proportionate, while maintaining the necessary level of protection for people and the environment. The 2014 regulations take account of advances in technology, for example synthetic biology is largely encompassed by the definitions in the regulations and is likely to remain so within the foreseeable future. The 2014 regulations incorporate changes to the provisions related to containment measures, notification and administrative arrangements. In addition, the language and layout of the regulations has been modernised and simplified. A summary of the legislative changes is provided in the table below.

How have they changed?

Summary of the change in the 2014 Regulations

Changes to containment measures in Schedule 8

Table 1a          

 

Table 1c          

Table 2

Changes to administrative arrangements

All       

Amendments to the language/layout of the regulations

Regulation2     

Replacement of the term ‘genetically modified organisms other than micro-organism’ with the term ‘larger genetically modified organisms’

Regulation 8    

Amendment to the requirements for a genetic modification safety committee – advice on class 1 risk assessments can be provided by individuals with appropriate expertise

Regulation 21  

Amendment of the requirement for an emergency plan – the requirement is risk based

Regulation 26  

Removal of the requirement for a hard copy of the public register of notifications – provision of an online version only

Regulation 31  

Replacement and simplification of the appeals procedure with online guidance

Regulation 33  

Amendment of the savings and transitional arrangements

What do I need to do?

Those working with GMOs should familiarise themselves with the 2014 regulations.

There are transitional arrangements which enable (with limited exceptions) existing contained uses notified in accordance with the 2000 Regulations to be transferred across to the 2014 Regulations without the need to re-notify. Any conditions or derogations attached to the notified contained use will also still apply.

However, the person responsible for the contained use should review all risk assessment for contained use to ascertain whether changes to the containment measures in the 2014 Regulations have resulted in an increase in class of the existing contained use(s). If the class has increased, a revised notification should be submitted to HSE within 90 days of the new Regulations coming into force. A fee will not be charged provided the notification is made within the 90 day transitional period. The information can be provided by completing a new CU2 form or by submitting a letter with a revised risk assessment. In either case, the documents should be clearly marked to indicate that the notification is being made under the transitional arrangements to avoid incurring a notification fee.

The contained use may continue in the meantime unless the risk assessment shows that the risks have increased or HSE does require the user to stop the contained use.

The transitional arrangements do not apply to new contained uses notified after the 1 October 2014.

For further information please refer to a guide to the Genetically Modified Organisms (Contained Use) Regulations 2014.
Updated 2020-09-24