UK REACH – new guidance for Northern Ireland

As part of our Brexit blog series this week, we are taking a look at some of the main developments over the course of the last month. With just 63 days to go until the end of the transition period, information about the future relationship between the UK and EU is critical.

A recap – what is UK REACH?

At the end of the transition period, the UK will no longer be part of the EU’s chemical regulatory regime, REACH. The UK is not seeking to negotiate membership of, or access to any of the EU’s regulatory agencies, instead opting to set up domestic replacements.

In the world of chemicals, this will be a new UK REACH system. This will largely mirror the existing EU REACH regime but ensures the UK has full autonomy over its approach to chemicals regulation going forward. UK REACH will apply regardless of the outcome of negotiations.

What this means for businesses

If you are based in Great Britain and you manufacture or import a substance over 1 tonne per year, you need to register that substance with UK REACH. If you are based in Northern Ireland, you need to continue to comply with the EU REACH regime.

If you are exporting a substance to the EU, you need to register the substance with EU REACH, either through the EU importer, or by appointing an Only Representative in the EU.

Full guidance on how the UK REACH regime will operate, and actions for businesses to take can be found through the links on the ADS Brexit Hub.

The unique arrangements for Northern Ireland

Over the last week, new guidance has been published outlining the process for exporting chemicals from Northern Ireland to Great Britain. We had previously been told what companies should do if moving chemicals from GB to NI – this would require either the NI based importer registering the chemical with EU REACH, or the GB based company appointing an Only Representative in NI to take on the responsibility or registering the substance.

We now know how the process will work the other way around. Full details are available on the HSE website, but in summary, either the NI based exporter or the GB based importer will need to complete a Northern Ireland Notification in the UK REACH system. This notification will be “light touch” and will not require the same amount of information as a full registration.

Webinar alert

ADS is running a webinar on UK REACH as part of its Brexit webinar series. DEFRA will present and cover, in detail, the steps businesses need to take to comply with the new regime. Members can sign up here.