The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published further information on the Brexit consequences of REACH for UK companies. This is following the original REACH technical notice, published on 24 September, and further notices on specific aspects of chemical regulation on 12 October.

The advice comes in the form of an ‘additional technical notice’, and provides more information for both the proposed implementation period, in the event the Withdrawal Agreement is passed, and the situation in a No Deal scenario.

Implementation Period:

  • REACH will continue to apply to the UK until the end of the implementation period
  • All current registrations, approvals, authorisations and classifications will remain valid
  • The process of registering new chemicals with REACH will remain the same
  • UK businesses will have the same rights as they currently enjoy within the EU system

No Deal:

This notice presents seven different scenarios, with information for companies on what rules will apply to them in the UK and what actions they will have to take, depending on their status. These are if:

  1. You are a UK-based EU REACH registration holder wishing to maintain UK market access
  2. You are a UK-based downstream user or a distributor of an EU REACH registered chemical and wish to maintain UK market access
  3. You are a UK importer of chemicals from outside the EU/EEA, or rely on a UK importer for your supply from outside the EU/EEA, and wish to maintain EU/EEA market access
  4. You are a UK-based REACH authorisation holder wishing to maintain your use or the supply for a use in the UK
  5. You are a UK downstream user of a REACH authorisation held by an EU/EEA-based company, wishing to maintain your use or the supply for a use in the UK
  6. You are exempt through an Article 9 exemption (PPORD)
  7. You are awaiting an ECHA or EU Commission decision

Other details include:

  • A UK REACH IT system is being constructed, which will be identical in operation to that for EU REACH
  • The UK REACH regulation will allow for the appointment of UK-based Only Representatives (ORs) from third country and EU27, to allow third country access to the UK chemicals market
  • The HSE will be the UK’s responsible chemical regulator, and the process for registrations and authorisations will be initially the same as that for EU REACH (including comparable fees)

Although a Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the future relationship have now been agreed between the UK and the EU, it will be a difficult process for them to be approved by the House of Commons. At this point there are no guarantees that the deal will be agreed, and the possibility of a No Deal exit from the EU is very real.

Companies should take action to ensure they know the risks to their business, and what actions they can take to reduce that risk. For further information, please do refer to the ADS Brexit Hub, where we have more details and links to statements by government and regulators, and the ADS HazMat WG page.