REACH Responsibilities After the Brexit Transition Period
The UK has left the EU, and is currently in a transition period which will come to an end on 31 December 2020. After this period the United Kingdom will implement its own independent chemicals regulatory framework ‘UK REACH’. This will mean that for market access in the EU and UK, separate registrations will be needed for substances under both (EU) REACH and UK REACH. The UK government has provided updated guidance on the measures needed for registrations under the new UK REACH system.
As the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement transition period nears its end, the UK government has published updated guidance on complying with the new UK REACH regulation Under UK REACH, manufactures and importers will have a duty to register chemicals that are produced, distributed or sold in the UK. This change means companies should review their substance registrations and roles in chemical supply chains to ensure continued compliance in the UK and/or the EU where separate registrations will be needed.
To help clarify the new responsibilities for businesses, the UK government has released guidance for compliance with UK REACH, which comes into effect on 1 January 2021. The guidance clarifies that UK REACH will maintain EU REACH’s key aims and principles, including; the “no data, no market” principle, the “last resort” principle on animal testing, access to information for workers and, the precautionary principle.  Also outlined are the actions business must take upon the implementation of UK REACH to ensure compliance with the new framework and undisrupted access to the UK market.
UK REACH for current UK held registrations
The new guidance outlines the ‘grandfathering’ system, whereby EU REACH registrations held by UK-based companies will legally carry across directly into UK REACH. If companies wish to maintain these UK REACH registrations through the ‘grandfathering’ process, they will need to provide basic information to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the UK by 30 April 2021, and provide further information to complete the process within 2, 4 or 6 years of 28 October 2021 depending on their tonnage band.
UK REACH for current EU held registrations
UK-based downstream users currently relying on registrations held in the EU/EEA, will need to ensure that substances are registered under UK REACH. This means they can either change to a UK-based supplier, encourage their EU/EEA supplier to appoint a UK-based Only Representative (OR), or, become an importer of the substance themselves by notifying the HSE using a Downstream User Import Notification (DUIN) of their intention to continue importing substances from the EU/EEA by 27 October 2021. Companies will then need to submit a new registration to the HSE within 2, 4 or 6 years of 28 October 2021 depending on their tonnage band.
EU REACH for current UK held registrations
Only an EU/EEA-based company can register a substance under the EU’s REACH regulation. With the UK becoming a ‘third country’ under EU REACH, registrations held by UK businesses must be transferred to an EU/EEA-based organisation or they will cease to be valid in the EU/EEA. With the transition period ending on 31 December 2020, companies will not be able to simply transfer the registration holder to an EU-based company after this date, as the registration will not exist anymore. Business must take action to transfer registrations to EU entities before the end of the transition period, as it will not be possible to do so after the transition period.