Complying with UK REACH

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

Organisations that have previously had to comply with EU REACH regulations need to recognise that steps must be taken to ensure they can maintain access to markets in Great Britain (GB) – England, Wales and Scotland. 

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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?

Those organisations that want to continue to import into or place products on the GB market will need to take action to have these legally recognised under UK REACH. If this isn’t done, they will no longer be able to trade in the same way.

Below we have broken down what your organisation needs to do to comply with UK REACH depending on your circumstances.

GB-based organisations

Previous EU REACH registration holders in GB – ‘grandfathering’

GB legal entities that previously held EU REACH registrations at any point between 29 March 2017 and the end of the Brexit transition period have ‘grandfather’ rights. This means the registrations are legally recognised under UK REACH, but the deadline to grandfather EU REACH registrations was 30 April 2021.

If you missed this deadline, you should immediately contact the UK Health & Safety Executive (HSE) at [email protected] who will be able to advise you further on late grandfathered registrations. Please do this immediately to maintain your access to the GB market.

New manufacturing activities in GB

GB legal entities that plan to manufacture or import substances for the first time, at over 1 tonne per annum, must register under UK REACH immediately. This is because they are considered new registrations and grandfathering will not apply. The registrations must be completed in full before the substance can be manufactured. This process starts with submitting an inquiry to the HSE.

GB importers of substances (previously downstream users under EU REACH)

Companies importing substances into GB from the EU, or from outside of the EU under the arrangement of an EU-based Only Representative (OR) were previously considered downstream users under EU REACH. However, under UK REACH, they now have the status of importer, and these activities are subject to registration under UK REACH. These companies are able to benefit from transitional measures in the form of deferred registration obligations. To benefit from these transitional measures, companies must submit a Downstream User Import Notification (DUIN) to the HSE by 27 October 2021.

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 such as an Only Representative like NCEC or via GB- based importers or affiliate importers. The options are : 

  • A GB-based Only Representative such as NCEC completes the DUIN and 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 and submit a DUIN.
  • 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


Using an Only Representative has a number of benefits for non-GB manufacturers and formulators, including relieving regulatory burdens for your customers, protecting your proprietary product data and, most importantly, securing your access to the GB market.

NCEC, a competent Only Representative, will be on hand to provide invaluable support in guiding you through the subsequent steps and enabling you to comply with UK REACH. 

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. We are well placed to support 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.