September 25, 2018 by Rhiannon Smith


The UK government has recently released some further information regarding the regulation of chemicals if there is no Brexit deal.

In the unlikely event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, this would mean:

• Companies registered with REACH would no longer be able to sell into the EEA market without transferring their registrations to an EEA-based organisation. Companies would therefore need to take action to preserve their EEA market access.
• UK downstream users currently importing chemicals from an EEA country would face new registration requirements. Under the UK’s replacement for REACH, importers would have a duty to register chemicals. Similarly UK downstream users of authorisations would no longer be able to rely on authorisation decisions addressed to companies in the remaining EEA countries.

To ensure continuity for business, the UK government would:

• Carry across existing REACH registrations held by UK-based companies directly into the UK’s replacement for REACH, legally ‘grandfathering’ the registrations into the UK regime.
• Set up a transitional light-touch notification process for UK companies importing chemicals from the EEA before the UK leaves the EU that don’t hold a REACH registration. This would reduce the risk of interruption in supply chains for companies currently relying on a registration held by an EEA-based company. This would mean that those UK companies could continue to buy those chemicals from the EEA without any break.
• Carry into the UK system all existing authorisations to continue using higher-risk chemicals held by UK companies.

To ensure the UK government have the information needed to regulate the safe use of chemicals, UK firms would need to take the following action:

• Businesses with existing EU REACH registrations being automatically grandfathered into the UK regime or authorisations would have to validate their existing registration with the UK authority (the HSE), opening an account on the new UK IT system and providing some basic information on their existing registration within 60 days of the UK leaving the EU. This IT system is being tested with a range of different users so that it is ready to support registrations of chemicals in the UK from March 2019.
• Companies with grandfathered registrations would have two years from the day the UK leaves the EU to provide the UK authority (the HSE) with the full data package that supported their original EU registration and is held on the ECHA IT system.
• Businesses that imported chemicals from the EEA before the UK leaves the EU (but who did not have an EU REACH registration), would need to notify the UK authority and provide some basic data on the chemicals within 180 days of the UK leaving the EU, instead of having to undertake a full registration immediately. This would be an interim arrangement for those importers and they would need to move to full registration at a later date following a review of this approach.
• Importing businesses would be responsible for identifying appropriate risk management measures and recommending them to their customers.

If a business wished to place new chemicals on both the EEA and UK markets, in a ‘no deal’ scenario, they would have to make two separate registrations, one to ECHA and one to the UK. The information and data package needed would be the same for both.

Maintaining or securing EEA market access:

• UK companies with existing REACH registrations wishing to maintain EEA market access would need to refer to guidance on the ECHA website on the steps they would need to take. Existing UK registrants would, for example, need to transfer their registrations to an appropriate EEA-based entity (such as an affiliate or an OR) or develop new working relationships with their EEA customers. This would require action before the UK leaves the EU.
• UK companies wishing to register new chemicals for the EEA market after the UK leaves the EU would need to register those with ECHA as they do now, but would need to do so via their EU customers or an OR. Further guidance on how to do this can be found on the ECHA website here.

Information from Brexit is also available on the ECHA website here.

Should you have any questions, please contact us.

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