Last reviewed 4 January 2021

The UK’s independent chemicals regulatory framework, UK REACH, became operational on 1 January 2021, replacing the EU REACH regime.

Businesses which make, sell or distribute chemicals into Great Britain (GB) will now need to follow the UK’s new domestic chemicals regulations, including UK REACH.

The Government says the “Comply with UK REACH” enables the UK to make decisions on regulation of chemicals that are “based on the best available scientific evidence, ensuring that chemicals remain safely used and managed”.

Announcing the new UK REACH regime, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “We have worked closely with industry and partners to develop the Comply with UK REACH IT system, which is fitting for our world-leading chemicals industry.

“Having our own independent chemicals regulatory framework will ensure that we make decisions that best reflect the UK’s needs while maintaining some of the highest chemicals standards in the world.”

To use the Comply with UK REACH service businesses need to:

  • transfer their EU REACH registration into UK REACH (also known as “grandfathering”) to continue having access to the GB market

  • submit a new registration for a substance

  • notify that they are going to continue importing substances from the EU or European Economic Area (EEA) by submitting a Downstream User Import Notification (DUIN)

  • transfer your assets, such as registrations, to another legal entity.

To access the Comply with UK REACH IT system, businesses will need to create a government “Gateway” account. Details on how to register a business or organisation on the Comply with UK REACH service are available here.

The Government is urging businesses to make sure they understand their regulatory obligations under UK REACH and to contact the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to:

  • validate existing UK-held product and process orientated research and development (PPORDs), ie grandfathering

  • provide information on any authorisation matter, including new authorisation application, grandfathering of existing authorisations, and downstream user notifications of authorised uses

Grandfathering

EU REACH registrations held by GB-based businesses have been carried across directly into UK REACH, legally grandfathering the registrations into the new regime. GB-based holders of existing EU REACH registrations need to complete the grandfathering process by providing basic information to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) by 30 April 2021. Read the HSE guidance to find out how to complete the grandfathering process.

Full details on how to comply with UK and EU REACH regulations are available here.