Businesses urged to prepare for 'no deal' Brexit and new chemicals rules

24th January 2019

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Holly Peedle

Thousands of UK businesses that manufacture or import chemicals from the EU will have to register with a new regulatory system in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit.

In guidance issued yesterday, the UK government said chemicals regulation in the EU would be brought into British law by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 to minimise disruption.

The more than 12,000 businesses registered with EU Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) rules would also need to sign up to a new system called UK REACH.

The chemicals sector, which is the UK's second biggest manufacturing industry, would have to register if no deal is reached by 29 March, along with a whole range of businesses in areas like cosmetics, construction and cleaning.

Environment Minister, Th√©r√®se Coffey, said: “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.

“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 and check whether they need to take action.“

The government said that UK REACH would retain key principles of EU REACH, including the “no data, no market' rule, and its provision for Only Representatives (ORs).

However, businesses currently signed up to the EU's regulations will also have to validate their registration with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) within 60 days after Brexit.

Companies that import chemicals from the EU will need to notify HSE within 180 days after Brexit, and those that export will have to make sure they are registered with EU REACH.

“The requirements are part of the government's commitment to maintain environmental standards after we leave the EU,“ the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra), said.

“More technical information will [also] need to be submitted to HSE within two years of EU exit.

“In order to register on UK REACH, businesses need to identify the chemical and quantity they use, understand how to register that chemical by reading the guidance, and prepare information for that registration.“

Image credit: iStock


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