These regulations would introduce a UK regime for the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals (REACH) after Brexit if the UK leaves without a deal, or with a deal that does not include future participation with the European Chemical Agency (ECHA).
The HSE will be the UK regulator for this regime, assuming ECHA's previous roles. Companies manufacturing, importing or supplying chemicals in the UK would ultimately be required to participate in the UK REACH system.
The REACH etc. (Amendment etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 will amend the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 on the date the UK leaves the EU (exit day).
The REACH Regulation will be retained as UK legislation on exit day.
What will be updated?
The 2019 regulations introduce a UK regime for the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. The HSE will be the UK regulator for this regime, assuming the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA)’s previous roles.
The REACH Regulation is amended extensively to remove references and definitions that will no longer be valid once the UK ceases to be an EU Member State.
The UK-REACH System
The 2019 regulations set out a UK REACH system that will apply in the event the UK leaves the EU without a deal or with a deal that does not involve the UK continuing to cooperate with ECHA.
The as yet unratified Political Declaration accompanying the draft Withdrawal Agreement commits to exploring continued cooperation with ECHA.
The UK-REACH regime will initially function similarly to the EU REACH regime but will be administered independently by the UK.
As the UK will no longer be an EU Member State, it will not be able to provide EU market access through the UK-REACH system.
UK companies manufacturing, importing or supplying chemicals will be required to participate in the UK REACH system. These companies will continue to be required to register chemicals, unless exempt.
The HSE will make recommendations to the Secretary of State and Devolved Administrations (as applicable) on decisions regarding chemicals. The HSE will be required to seek external scientific advice when developing opinions, unless it justifies why this is not required in a statement.
Registration: Continued Access to the UK Market
EU/EEA REACH registrations would continue to be recognised to place chemicals on the UK Market for two years following Exit Day.
To continue to place chemicals on the UK market, UK chemical manufacturers or distributors and importers of chemicals from a non-EEA origin will need to:
Registration: Access to the UK Market for New Chemicals
New chemicals would need to be registered with the HSE before they are placed on the UK market.
Registration: Downstream Users and Distributors
UK-based downstream users and distributors of chemicals registered under EU REACH will have several options:
Registration: Continued Access to the EU/EEA Market
To continue to place chemicals on the EU/EEA market, UK-based manufacturers or distributors will be required to transfer registrations to an EEA affiliate or ‘Only Representative’, or comply via the use of EEA-based importers before Exit Day.
UK Chemical Authorisations
Conditions of pre-existing authorisations would continue to apply.
Pre-existing restrictions on chemicals will be transferred to the UK-REACH regime.
Devolved Administrations will be able to apply temporary restrictions if this is required urgently. The UK chemical restriction process will then consider whether these should be made UK-wide and permanent.
Product and Process Oriented Research and Development (PPORD) Exemptions
Exemptions for chemicals imported or manufactured for PPORD activities will need to be notified to the HSE within 120 days of Exit Day to continue using them.
Safety Data Sheets (SDSs)
SDSs prepared under EU REACH will remain valid under UK-REACH.
The HSE has published guidance on required actions under REACH in a no deal scenario on its website.
The REACH Regulation requires the registration of all non-exempt chemicals. It is an offence to supply unregistered chemicals beyond the respective deadline. Although REACH primarily applies to EU manufacturers and importers of substances, it also impacts downstream users.
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