The UK government has today (25 March) published further guidance to businesses on the future of the UK’s chemical regulation.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, UK businesses that manufacture or import chemicals will have to register under UK REACH.
The new guidance explains the specific steps a business must take to register a chemical online under UK REACH.
UK REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) will replace EU REACH in the UK, and will require businesses to demonstrate how a chemical can be safely used with minimal risk to human health or the environment.
The chemicals sector is the UK’s second biggest manufacturing industry, employing around 95,000 people in the UK and a further 175,000 in industries that rely on chemicals. A ‘no deal’ would mean that a range of businesses would be unable to import chemicals directly from the European Economic Area (EEA) opening account on UK REACH IT. Sectors that rely on chemicals include the motor manufacturing, pharmaceutical, cosmetics, construction and cleaning products industries.
Launching on EU Exit day, the new online system will allow:
- Businesses that have existing UK-held REACH registrations to validate their registrations (‘grandfathering’)
- Businesses that import chemicals from the EEA to submit downstream user import notifications
- Business to register new substance registrations or PPORD notifications (Product and Process Orientated Research and Development)
In order to minimise disruption to in the event of a no-deal Brexit, businesses that currently hold a REACH registration are encouraged to access their ECHA REACH-IT account and ensure that all the information relating to their business is downloaded. Information required to comply with UK REACH includes registration confirmation documents and ECHA decisions.
Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:
Delivering a negotiated deal with the EU remains the government’s top priority, but it is the job of a responsible Government to ensure we are prepared for all scenarios, including no deal.
It is not just chemicals producers that could be affected by this change so I encourage all businesses that use chemicals to read the guidance on the HSE website and check the actions they need to take.
Under the new requirements, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal:
- UK businesses that manufacture a chemical (those currently registered to EU REACH) will need to validate their existing registration with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) within 120 days of the UK leaving the EU.
- UK businesses that import a chemical substance from the EU will need to notify HSE within 180 days of the UK leaving the EU.
- UK businesses that export chemicals to the EU will need to have an EU REACH registration in place once the UK leaves the EU.
In addition, more technical information will need to be submitted by businesses to HSE within two years of EU Exit. The requirements are part of the government’s commitment to maintain environmental standards after we leave the EU.
Businesses that may be affected should read the latest guidance on requirements for using chemicals after the UK leaves the EU.