The Impact of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit on your CLP Responsibilities
Following the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union on 29th March 2019, chemical suppliers must be aware of the impact of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit on their responsibilities for the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures marketed in the UK.
The Brexit withdrawal date will soon be upon us, and there currently remains no finalised agreement on the terms of the UK’s departure. In the absence of such an agreement, a ‘no-deal’ scenario would come into effect, with EU legislation ceasing to apply in the UK.
Under a ‘no-deal’ scenario, the UK would establish an independent, stand alone regulatory regime for chemicals. As part of this regime, to replace the EU’s regulation on the classification, labelling and packaging (CLP) of substances and mixtures (Regulation 1272/2008), the UK would adopt the UN globally harmonised system (GHS). As the EU’s CLP regulation adopts the UN’s GHS on the classification and labelling of chemicals, the duties of suppliers of chemicals in the UK will be expected to remain broadly the same as those in the EU. However, some procedural differences can be expected, including:
- Companies operating in the UK will deal with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in place of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
- Companies will need to classify and label products separately with regards to placing on the market in the UK or the EU.
The UK government has published a technical notice which sets out plans for classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures in no deal scenario, providing a comprehensive overview of the necessary measures businesses will need to take in order to be prepared.
The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has also published advice online outlining the actions UK businesses will need to take to ensure continued compliance and maintain access to the EU market.
Maintaining continued access to the UK market under a ‘no-deal’ Brexit
After exit day, UK based distributors currently supplied from within the EU will become UK importers under CLP, and would need to be sufficiently competent to comply with the duties and obligations of an importer, just as they would if importing chemicals into the UK from a non-EU country. These duties and obligations will include:
- UK-based manufacturers, importers, distributors and downstream users will need to classify, label and package substances and/or mixtures intended for the UK market according to the new UK CLP.
- EU-based exporters will need to classify, label and package substances and/or mixtures intended for the UK market according to the new UK CLP.
- UK-based companies will no longer be obliged to seek agreement on the classification of manufactured substances in alignment with manufacturers and importers of the same substance within the EU.
- UK-based exporters will no longer be obliged to notify the classification of substances in the ECHA’s C&L inventory. Instead, EU-based importers will have the responsibility to submit the C&L notifications to ECHA, and not the UK exporter.
Maintaining continued access to the EU market under a ‘no-deal’ Brexit
In the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, UK-based companies supplying companies in the EU, will become exporters, and will need to consider the following actions to ensure continued access to the EU market after exit date:
- UK based manufacturers and distributors will need to identify an importer in the EU-27 or EEA who will place the substances and/or mixtures on the EU market following the current EU CLP regime.
A tabulated summary of actions that will be required to be taken under different scenarios for chemical suppliers, has also been made available by the HSE at: Classification labelling & packaging.
Enviresearch is here to help
During this period of uncertainty, Enviresearch can offer expert regulatory advice and assistance to minimise the impact of Brexit on your business. As part of the support we provide for your REACH, plant protection product, or biocide activities, we will continue to provide the most up-to-date CLP knowledge, ensuring that your products are correctly classified and labelled in line with the relevant requirements both across the EU and in the UK.