United Kingdom Internal Market Act 2020

Jurisdiction: UK

Commencement: Section 59 of the Act will commence on Royal Assent (17th December 2020). The other provisions will commence on the day or days appointed by regulations.

Amends: New Legislation

Mini Summary

This Act ensures businesses can continue to trade goods freely and effectively across the United Kingdom following the departure from the European Union.


As the United Kingdom (UK) has left the European Union (EU), this Act is introduced to ensure businesses can continue to trade goods freely and effectively across the UK.

The Act establishes two principles that apply to goods and services which are known as the ‘Market Access Principles‘:

  • The principle of mutual recognition which ensures regulations from one part of the UK are recognised across each of the others, i.e. any good that meets relevant regulatory requirements relating to sale in the part of the UK it is produced in or imported into, can be sold in any other part of the UK without having to adhere to additional relevant regulatory requirements in that other part.
  • The principle of non-discrimination which supports companies trading in the UK, regardless of where in the UK they are based, by preventing unreasonably discriminatory regulation.

The market access principles allow organisations to trade without additional barriers based on which UK nation they are in. They also provide access of qualifying goods from Northern Ireland to Great Britain.

This entry focuses on the parts of the Act that relate to the environment; specifically this relates to the exclusions from mutual recognition and non-discrimination for goods.


There are certain specific exclusions from mutual recognition and non-discrimination for goods. An exclusion is a policy area, area of regulation or type of relevant requirement that is not subject to the principles. These areas can be updated and changed in the future if required in response to changes in market conditions.

Schedule 1 of the Act lists certain areas of exclusion from either or both Market Access Principles. The areas that are excluded from mutual recognition and relate to environmental management are:

  • chemicals in relation to authorisations and restrictions under the UK Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regime;
  • pesticides in relation to the authorisation for sale of products and approval of active substances; and
  • fertilisers in relation to safeguarding measures taken by each administration.

The area excluded from both mutual recognition and non-discrimination that relates to environmental management is sanitary and phytosanitary measures relating to serious threats to animal and plant health. This ensures that the measures can be implemented, to take account of differences in pest and disease prevalence across the UK. Any measure falling under this exclusion needs to be supported by a risk assessment demonstrating the measure was reasonable and justified.


There are no direct compliance duties for organisations in this Act.


Link to full government text


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