Government releases notice on regulating chemicals if there is a no Brexit deal

Government releases notice on regulating chemicals if there is a no Brexit deal
01 October 2018

There is currently much speculation about what will happen should the UK leave the EU without an agreement. The UK government recently published a technical notice on regulating chemicals, which sets out how businesses who produce, register, import or export chemicals would be affected should no deal be reached.

We have published the key points below and added the link to the full government notice.

We are also hosting a series of webinars on Brexit as plans start to unfold. The first takes place on Wednesday 3rd October where NCEC’s principal regulatory consultant Caroline Raine will share her thoughts on how Brexit will affect the chemical industry.

Brexit – what next for the chemical industry?
03 October 2018 | 14:00 BST

Register now

Key points from UK Government technical guidance

View the full guidance

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, this would mean:

  • Companies registered with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation & restriction of CHemicals (REACH) Regulation would no longer be able to sell into the European Economic Area (EEA) without transferring their registrations to an EEA-based organisation. Therefore, companies would need to take action to preserve their EEA market access.
  • UK downstream users that import 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 that don’t hold a REACH registration, but import chemicals from the EEA prior to the UK leaving the EU. This would reduce the risk of interruption in supply chains for companies that rely 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 has the information needed to regulate the safe use of chemicals, then:

  • 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 Health and safety Executive (HSE)).
    • Open an account on the new UK IT system.
    • Provide some basic information on their existing registration within 60 days of the UK leaving the EU.

The new 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 2 years from the day the UK leaves the EU to provide the HSE with the full data package that supported their original EU registration and is held on the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) IT system.
  • Businesses that imported chemicals from the EEA before the UK leaves the EU (but did not have an EU REACH registration), would need to notify the HSE 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.