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. The deadline to grandfather registrations passed on 30 April 2021.

New activities in GB – Article 26 Inquiries

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.  The registrations must be completed in full before the substance can be manufactured. The first step in this process is to complete an Article 26 Inquiry. This involves preparing and submitting dossier using the ‘Comply with UK REACH’ system that contains analytical data to confirm the identity of the substance. 

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.  

In all cases, 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, the registration dossier can be submitted with data waivers, including a statement to explain the unavailability of the full test summaries. It will be expected that every effort will be made to update the 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 28th 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 all data required for that tonnage band. This must be completed before the manufacture or import of the substance(s) into Great Britain. 

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.
  • 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.