UK firms must comply with EU chemicals laws, following Brexit vote

18th July 2016

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Manufacturing ,
  • Chemicals ,
  • Management ,
  • Supply chain ,
  • Politics & Economics


Amanda Williams

British companies that sell chemicals and products in Europe must continue to comply with EU requirements, the bloc's chemicals regulator has said.

According to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), the vote to leave the EU had thrown UK businesses and those in the rest of the EU as well as companies further afield into an era of great uncertainty about their legal obligations under the EU chemicals law, REACH.

In a statement, the agency said that until the UK invokes Article 50 of the Treaty of the EU, it remains a member , with all the rights and obligations that go with it. It also said compliance with EU chemicals legislation would apply whether the UK decides to remain part of the single market or if it joins the European Economic Area (EEA).

The ECHA has appointed Andreas Herdina, head of its communications and outreach directorate, as its contact point for British companies. Herdina’s primary task is to ensure that the agency takes a single consolidated position towards UK firms and to act as a reference point on Brexit matters, including British nationals working at the Helsinki-based regulator.

The next REACH registration deadline for manufacturers or importers of chemicals or mixtures above one tonne is 31 May 2018. The ECHA said the deadline would still apply to UK chemicals companies, given that protracted negotiations between the UK and the rest of the EU are expected to last at least two years once formal departure talks begin.

The UK is an important trading partner for EU chemical companies, contributing on average 9% (€46.3 billion) of total annual EU28 chemicals sales of €531 billion.

REACH, the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation and the Biocidal Products Regulation directly apply in all member states and do not need national implementing legislation. As such, they would no longer apply when the UK leaves the EU. This would potentially create a legislative vacuum, unless laws are put in place so that REACH can continue or new domestic chemicals regulations are enacted.


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Scotland to scrap its 2030 climate target

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

The UK’s major cities lag well behind their European counterparts in terms of public transport use. Linking development to transport routes might be the answer, argues Huw Morris

3rd April 2024

Read more

Ben Goodwin reflects on policy, practice and advocacy over the past year

2nd April 2024

Read more

A hangover from EU legislation, requirements on the need for consideration of nutrient neutrality for developments on many protected sites in England were nearly removed from the planning system in 2023.

2nd April 2024

Read more

It’s well recognised that the public sector has the opportunity to work towards a national net-zero landscape that goes well beyond improving on its own performance; it can also influence through procurement and can direct through policy.

19th March 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close