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REACH Etc. (Amendment Etc.) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019

Synopsis

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.

 
 
 

Summary

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:

  • open a UK-REACH IT online account and submit an initial notification within 120 days after Exit Day; and
  • submit all technical information required under UK-REACH within two years after Exit Day.

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:

  • open an UK REACH IT account and submit an initial notification within 180 days after Exit Day and to submit all technical information to register with the HSE within two years after Exit day;
  • Arrange the EU/EEA supplier to appoint a UK-based only representative for the UK-REACH regime; or
  • Purchase chemicals from a UK-REACH registered supplier.

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

  • Future authorisation applications would need to be made to the HSE.
  • UK-REACH will continue to recognise pre-existing authorisations for chemicals on the authorisation list within the UK, but would require full technical information to be provided to the HSE within 60 days of Exit Day.
  • Downstream users benefitting from EU authorisations will be required to notify the HSE regarding these authorisations and their details within 60 days of Exit Day.
  • Authorisations under consideration by ECHA would need to be resubmitted to the HSE and/or Defra (depending on the state of progress) within 180 days of Exit Day to maintain access to the UK market.

Conditions of pre-existing authorisations would continue to apply.

Restrictions

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.

Enforcement

The REACH (Enforcement) Regulations 2008 will be amended to transfer enforcement roles to UK bodies. A new Schedule sets out the enforcing authority for each subject area.

GUIDANCE

The HSE has published guidance on required actions under REACH in a no deal scenario on its website.

Guidance is also available on the possible UK REACH IT system.

Background

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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