The UK government has issued guidance to businesses that use chemicals on the actions they should take now to minimize any disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit. If the UK leaves the EU on March 29 without a deal, UK businesses that manufacture or import chemicals from the EU will reportedly have to register those chemicals to a new UK regulatory system. UK REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) will replace EU REACH and will require businesses to demonstrate how a chemical can be safely used with minimal risk to human health or the environment.

UK businesses currently hold over 12,000 registrations with REACH. A “no deal” would reportedly mean that a range of other key sectors would also be required to register any imported chemicals they use on UK REACH.

“Delivering a negotiated deal with the EU remains the government’s top priority, but it is the job of a responsible government to ensure we are prepared for all scenarios, including no deal,” said Thérèse Coffey, environment minister. “It is not just chemicals producers that could be affected by this change so I encourage all businesses that use chemicals to read the guidance on the HSE website and check whether they need to take action.”

Under the new requirements, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal:

  • UK businesses that manufacture a chemical (those currently registered to EU REACH) will need to validate their existing registration with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) within 60 days of the UK leaving the EU.
  • UK businesses that import a chemical substance from the EU will need to setup a new registration with HSE within 180 days of UK leaving the EU.
  • UK businesses that export chemicals to the EU will need to have an EU REACH registration in place once the UK leaves the EU.

In addition, more technical information will need to be submitted by businesses to HSE within two years of EU Exit.

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