Businesses told to prepare for no-deal Brexit

08 February 2019

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, government have released advice on any action companies should take to minimise disruption to their business.
Georgie Hines

If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 without a deal, UK businesses that manufacture or import chemicals from the EU will have to register those chemicals to a new UK regulatory system.
UK REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) will replace EU REACH, with which UK businesses currently hold over 12,000 registrations. Under UK REACH businesses throughout the UK chemical supply chain, including motor manufacturing, cosmetics, construction and cleaning products, will need to register with the system.

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 60 days of the UK leaving the EU
  • UK businesses that import a chemical substance from the EU will need to setup a new registration with 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

ECHA – the EU’s Chemicals Agency – has issued further guidance stating that UK-based manufacturers and formulators can either transfer their business to, or appoint an only representative in, one of the EU-27/EEA countries to keep their substances registered under REACH legally.

The agency has also said that, subject to further developments, ECHA will open a ‘Brexit window’ in its REACH system from 12-29 March 2019 to enable UK-based companies to make these changes and transfer their REACH registrations. If an only representative is not appointed, the EU-27/EEA importers will have to submit their own registrations.

In the two years following Brexit, UK businesses will need to provide further technical information to the HSE as part of the government’s commitment to maintain environmental standards after the Uk leaves the EU. Businesses need to take the following action:

  • Identify the chemical and quantity that they use
  • Understand how to register that chemical by reading the EU Exit guidance
  • Prepare the information for that registration

Up-to-date and step-by-step guidance can be found on the ECHA and HSE websites.

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