The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has issued a technical notice on how businesses producing, registering, importing or exporting chemicals would be affected if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no deal.

The notice states that, in the unlikely event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal, this would mean:

  • companies registered with Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) would no longer be able to sell into the European Economic Area (EEA) market without transferring their registrations to an EEA-based organisation. Companies would therefore need to take action to preserve their EEA market access

  • 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. Similarly, UK downstream users of authorisations would no longer be able to rely on authorisation decisions addressed to companies in the remaining EEA countries.

Post March 2019, REACH registrations would be automatically “grandfathered” into the UK regime and all existing authorisations held by UK companies permitting them to use higher risk chemicals will be carried over into the same system.

UK firms would need to take the following action.

  • Business’s REACH registrations or authorisations would have to validate their existing registration with the UK authority (the Health and Safety Executive (HSE)), opening an account on the new UK IT system and providing some basic information on their existing registration within 60 days of the UK leaving the EU.

  • Companies with grandfathered registrations would have two years from the day the UK leaves the EU to provide the UK authority (the HSE) with the full data package that supported their original EU registration and is held on the ECHA IT system.

  • Businesses that imported chemicals from the EEA before the UK leaves the EU (but who did not have an EU REACH registration), would need to notify the UK authority and provide some basic data on the chemicals within 180 days of the UK leaving the EU, instead of having to undertake a full registration immediately. This would be an interim arrangement for those importers and they would need to move to full registration at a later date following a review of this approach.

  • Importing businesses would be responsible for identifying appropriate risk management measures and recommending them to their customers.

Last reviewed 28 December 2018