On 19th December 2018, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has published the Updated Guidance on Regulating chemicals (REACH) if there’s no Brexit deal’. This Guidance explains how businesses producing, registering, importing or exporting chemicals would be affected if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal.
In the unlikely event of a no deal, the UK Government would ensure UK legislation replaces EU legislation via the EU Withdrawal Act, establish a UK regulatory framework and build domestic capacity to deliver the functions currently performed by ECHA. The legislation would preserve REACH as far as possible, while making technical changes that would need to be made because the UK has left the EU.
If UK will leave the EU without a deal, companies with substances registered under REACH would no longer be able to sell into the EEA market without transferring their registrations to an EEA-based organisation.UK downstream users currently importing chemicals from an EEA country would face new registration requirements according to the Guidance. Under Britain’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 the continuity for business the UK Government would:
- transfer existing REACH registrations held by UK-based companies directly to the UK’s replacement for REACH, legally ‘grandfathering’ the registrations into the British regime. Grandfathering is the act of exempting something from new legislation or requirements;
- set up a transitional “light-touch” notification process for UK companies importing chemicals from the EEA before the UK leaves the EU that do not hold a REACH registration. This reduces the risk of supply chain disruption for companies currently relying on a registration held by an EEA-based company; and
- carry into the UK system all existing authorisations to continue using higher-risk chemicals held by UK companies.
To ensure that the UK Government has the information needed to regulate the safe use of chemicals, UK companies 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 Health and Safety Executive (HSE), opening an account on the new UK IT system and providing basic information on their existing registration within 60 days of the UK leaving the EU;
- companies with grandfathered registrations would have two 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 Echa’s IT system;
- businesses that imported chemicals from the EEA before the UK leaves the EU (but which did not have an EU REACH registration), would need to notify the HSE and provide basic data on the chemicals within 180 days of Britain’s withdrawal, 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; and
- importing businesses would be responsible for identifying appropriate risk management measures and recommending them to their customers.
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.
Guidance – Regulating chemicals (REACH) if there’s no Brexit deal, updated on the Government webpage on 19th Dec 2018.