Following the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union, and the end of the Brexit transitional period, a separate UK REACH regime was introduced on 1 st January 2021.
The UK REACH legislation directly mirrors the EU regulations, and so UK REACH will be familiar to companies who have experience of EU REACH.
Under the terms of the Northern Ireland protocol, companies based in Northern Ireland continue to be subject to the European REACH regulations. But the introduction of the separate UK requirements means that there will also be challenges to consider, in particular for companies based in Great Britain.
- For some GB companies, their role in the supply chain has changed under UK REACH. GB companies importing REACH registered substances from EU suppliers were previously identified under REACH as downstream users. However, under UK REACH, these companies will instead be identified as importers, with additional obligations under UK REACH, including registration;
- Companies who need access to both the EU and GB markets may take on duplicate obligations across both regimes.
- Additional costs can also be expected. For example, REACH data sharing agreements typically cover the right to refer to data for the purpose of compliance with REACH. So in some cases additional fees may be charged, to extend a data sharing agreement to cover UK REACH as well. The UK HSE will also charge fees for registering under UK REACH.
The UK Government has implemented transitional provisions to help reduce the impacts associated with the introduction of UK REACH. These include:
- Grandfathering: GB legal entities who held EU REACH registrations at any point between April 2017 and 31st December 2020 will be able to ‘Grandfather’ these into the UK REACH system. To Grandfather a registration under UK REACH, a basic submission must be made before 30 th April 2021.
- Downstream User Import Notifications (DUIN): GB legal entities importing REACH registered substances or mixtures from EU suppliers (or from outside of the EU, under an OR agreement held by an EU-based entity) may submit DUINs to notify the UK Authorities that you intend to continue importing. DUINs must be submitted by 28 th October 2021.
By Grandfathering registrations, and/or submitting DUINs within the specified deadlines, you will be able to take advantage of extended deadlines (2, 4 or 6 years from October 2021, depending on tonnage band and/or the hazard profile of the substance) for submitting the full UK REACH registration dossiers.
Remember: these transitional provisions are only available for a limited period of time. If you do not take advantage of the transitional provisions, then the extended deadlines for submitting UK REACH registration dossiers will not be available to you.
You should therefore act quickly to ensure compliance, by:
- 1. Reviewing your substance/product inventory and supply chains, to ensure that you understand the Brexit implications for each substance and can identify the compliance options relevant to you;
- 2. Liaising with suppliers to identify optimal routes to achieving EU & UK REACH compliance;
- 3. Exploring data sharing options with data owners;
- 4. Gathering the data required for submissions under UK REACH.