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UK Government updates REACH guidance for Brexit scenarios

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3 October 2019

Defra prepares guidance as it helps the UK chemical sector get ready for 31 October 2019.

Muriel Cozier

The UK Government’s Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has published its guidance on REACH in support of the chemical sector as it prepares for Brexit on 31 October 2019. The suite of written guidance covers:

  • Reach no deal guidance
  • Reach deal guidance
  • Chemicals sector Brexit page
  • Chemicals REACH guidance
  • Import /export chemicals process map

The guidance document states ‘Leaving the EU with a deal remains the Government’s top priority. This has not changed. However, a responsible government must plan for every eventuality including a no deal scenario.’

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, implications for the chemical sector would include; companies registered with REACH no longer being able to sell into the EEA market without transferring their registration to an EEA-based organisation. Companies would therefore need to act to preserve their EEA market access. In addition, UK downstream users currently importing chemicals from an EEA country would face new registration requirements. Under the UK’s replacement for REACH, importers would have a duty to register chemicals.

Further guidance indicates that in the event of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, a business wishing to place new chemicals on both the EU/EEA and UK markets would have to ensure that they comply with both EU REACH and UK REACH. UK REACH registrations will require the same IUCLID technical dossier format as EU REACH for the relevant tonnage bands in the UK market.

Defra has made special mention of two Statutory Instruments (SI) laid down to amend REACH. One contains several transitional provisions to allow for uninterrupted production and supply of chemicals, including one to allow the continued import of substances from the EEA. This provision allows the importer of the substance two years from exit before they must register the substance with the UK Agency. In the meantime, the importer must provide the UK Agency with a notification within 180 days of EU Exit.

The second Statutory Instrument amends REACH inserting a new transitional provision relating to applications for authorisations to use chemical substances of very high concern (SVHC).

Government guidance sets out a total of nine possible scenarios in which a chemical manufacturer, formulater, user, importer or exporter may find themselves as a result of Brexit.

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