Complying with UK REACH

To trade in Great Britain, you need to comply with UK REACH.


Organisations that place chemical substances on the Great Britain (GB) market must comply with UK REACH. Previously, these companies may have had obligations under EU REACH, however, as UK are no longer part of the EU, steps need to be taken to ensure compliance with UK REACH. 

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The appointment of an Only Representative (OR) under UK REACH is one route that companies can use. NCEC, part of Ricardo plc, is ready take on this role and guide you through the process.


What is UK REACH?

UK REACH came into force on 1 January 2021 following the end of the Brexit transition period. It is a replication of EU REACH, but is applicable only to GB. The core of UK REACH remains the same as that for EU REACH – requiring the registration of substances manufactured or imported at greater than one tonne per year. However, some changes have been made to make it suitable for the GB market. 

Because of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Northern Ireland stays within the jurisdiction of EU REACH.

Who needs to register under UK REACH?

Organisations that manufacture or import substances into Great Britain in quantities over 1 tonne per year must take action to ensure they comply with the UK requirements for registration. If this isn’t done, they will no longer be able to trade in the same way.

Article 26 Inquiries

An Article 26 Inquiry is the first step in the registration process under REACH. It requires potential registrants to prepare and submit an IUCLID format Article 26 Inquiry dossier for their substance through the ‘Comply with UK REACH’ system. This includes analytical data which demonstrates the substance’s identity and purity. Under REACH, registrations are required to be submitted jointly.  The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will review the Inquiry dossier to confirm that the same substances are grouped together to facilitate data sharing. By ensuring the identity of the substance matches one already registered, data sharing can be made possible. This step is essential and underpins the concept of ‘one substance, one registration’, with the aim of reducing unnecessary animal testing. 

Organisations that plan to manufacture or import substances into GB for the first time at over 1 tonne per annum, must register under UK REACH immediately. The registration dossier must be completed, and registration fee paid before the substance can be manufactured or imported. 

– Organisations who have already completed a downstream user import notification (DUIN) can benefit from a deferred deadline before the substance needs to be fully registered. All substances that have been notified in the DUIN will still need to be registered, either by the GB based importer or by the non-GB producer on behalf of their importers. Organisations who have submitted the DUIN will not have any visibility of the registration status of their substance. These companies should consider completing an Article 26 Inquiry which allows access to the substance group and gives visibility of the progress of the registration of that substance. This can help these organisations get peace of mind that preparations are being made for their substances to be registered under UK REACH. It can also take time to gather the necessary analytical data and complete an Article 26 Inquiry, so we encourage registrants to start this essential process early to ensure a smooth path to registration. 

Substances that were previously registered under EU REACH: These registrants will be added to the relevant substance group to facilitate data sharing after having completed an Article 26 Inquiry. These registrants may be able to defer the submission of the full information requirement in alignment with grandfathered registrations. Registrants will be informed if this applies to them following the submission of a successful Article 26 Inquiry dossier. 

The HSE registration fee will be payable immediately and a registration dossier will need to be submitted. Until such time as the data becomes available, this registration dossier can be submitted with data waivers, including a statement to explain the unavailability of the full test summaries. The HSE expects registrants to make every effort to update their dossiers when data becomes available. Following this, registrants will then fall into the same transitional timeline as both the grandfathered and DUIN registrants and have 2, 4 or 6 years from 28 October 2021 to complete the full registration. 

– Substances that were not previously registered under EU REACH: These registrants will also need to submit an Article 26 Inquiry, followed by an immediate full registration dossier including the full dataset required for that tonnage band. This must be completed before the manufacture or import of the substance(s) into Great Britain. The HSE registration fee is also payable immediately. 

Please note , the deadline to grandfather registrations was 30 April 2021 and the deadline to submit DUINs was 27 October 2021. However, if you missed these deadlines there is still some time to submit these under UK REACH. 

  • The UK Government has advised that the deadline to submit DUINs has been extended. Companies looking to take advantage of this extension should do so as soon as possible. 
  • The UK Government has also advised that the HSE will be temporarily reopening the window to grandfather EU REACH registrations into UK REACH. The functionality in the ‘Comply with UK REACH’ service will be reactivated for a short time between 08:00 GMT on 1 December 2021 and 23:59 GMT on 2 December 2021. We advise you to contact the HSE at [email protected] urgently to ensure you can make use of this window.

Non-GB based organisations

Non-GB based organisations that manufacture or formulate products for the GB market will need to use a GB-based legal entity to comply with the requirements of UK REACH. The options are: 

  • A GB-based Only Representative (OR) such as NCEC completes the UK REACH registration on behalf of your importing customers.
  • Your GB-based customers may agree to take on the responsibility to register the substance as an importer.
  • Use your own GB legal entity if you have one, to act as importer or OR.
  • An affiliate GB importer can register on your behalf and then supply your GB-based customers.

What are the benefits of using a GB-based Only Representative such as NCEC?

  • Protect your proprietary product data – allowing your GB based customers to complete DUINs on your behalf will mean providing them with analytical information, which will potentially compromise confidentiality and may pose a risk to your business. By appointing an OR such as NCEC, with no conflicting commercial interests, you will avoid this risk.
  • Relieve regulatory burdens for your customers – appointing NCEC as an OR will allow you to maintain your competitive edge. By relying on your customers to complete the DUIN process instead, unmanageable regulatory burdens and costs may mean they find an alternate supplier.
  • Maintain your access to the GB market – by being reliant on your importers you put your access to the GB market at risk. Should they cease trading or stop using/selling your product, you will no longer be able to import your product without having it registered in full by a GB legal entity.
  • Maintain existing supply chains – an alternative to appointing an OR is working with an affiliate importer to continue supplying your customers in the GB market. However, this will mean changing your existing supply chains and being subject to additional charges imposed by the importer.
  • Get expert support and advice on UK REACH and ongoing compliance – if you appoint NCEC as your OR, you will receive support and advice to help you navigate the complexities of UK REACH, whilst ensuring you can continue supplying the GB market.

Why use NCEC?

NCEC is a firmly established British business, closely connected with the UK Government.  We have an enviable 45-year legacy in providing chemical safety, emergency response, and regulatory compliance support to chemical producers, manufacturers, distributors, transporters and users globally. 

We have been involved in supporting compliance with EU REACH since it started and we are supporting organisations across the world to manage the impact of UK REACH on their business from our legal entities in the UK and across Europe. By partnering with NCEC as your Only Representative, we can help you navigate the complexities of UK REACH and significantly reduce the costs of compliance. 

Contact us to start your UK REACH journey and keep trading your products legally in Great Britain.