UK’s Health and Safety Executive Expands on Guidance on Chemicals in Case of “No-Deal” Brexit

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December 17, 2018 - Scott Stephens

The United Kingdom’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has issued chemical regulation-specific guidance which expands on the September 2018 technical notice issued by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) that explained the UK’s strategy for a ‘no-deal’ withdrawal from the European Union in March 2019.

Titled “UK REACH additional guidance if there is no Brexit deal,” the HSE addresses how specific UK-based stakeholders would be affected if the UK left the EU without securing a formal withdrawal agreement.

Among other details, the guidance states that:

  • EU REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals – 1907/2006/EC) will be replicated in the form of UK REACH, with necessary changes made to allow it to work outside the EU
  • EU REACH’s key principles will be retained in UK REACH including the ‘no data, no market’ provision and the provision for Only Representatives (ORs)
  • Like under EU REACH, fees will apply for registering chemicals under UK REACH
  • Industry will have to register the same chemicals independently with both the UK and EU competent authorities
  • Companies currently holding EU REACH registrations will have 60 days to submit basic data on their substances
  • Companies will then have two years to complete the registration of their substances under UK REACH

The HSE apparently released this guidance in the wake of UK parliament members’ overwhelming criticism of the Withdrawal Agreement, which was concluded between the UK government and the EU on 25 November 2018. The guidance states, in part, that the terms of the UK’s “smooth and orderly” exit in principle have now been agreed, "as set out in the Withdrawal Agreement," but “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed - and as such it is the duty of a responsible government to continue to prepare for all scenarios, including the unlikely event of a no-deal.”

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