What do I need to do now?

All existing EU Regulations will continue to apply until Britain actually leaves the EU, which will not happen for some time.  This means that you will need to continue to comply with all current requirements, including classifying and labelling your chemicals, providing safety data sheets, complying with authorisations and restrictions, identifying SVHCs in articles, and so on.


What about registering chemicals under REACH?

For now, if you are required to have a registration in place because your substance is either not eligible for the phase-in period, or the phase-in deadline for your tonnage band has passed, you must register your substance if you want to continue to place it on the market.


What about 2018 registrations

At the moment we do not know if the UK will have completed its negotiations to leave the EU by 31st May 2018 or not.

If we retain access to the European market under an arrangement such as Norway, then business will continue as usual.

If we end up with a deal for access to the European market such as those of Switzerland, Turkey, etc., or if we end up with no deal at all at this point and revert to WTO rules, all UK companies will become non-EU companies and will no longer be able to register chemicals under REACH. UK companies will then have to consider the options open to other non-EU companies. These include working through another part of their organisation based within the EU to register as either their only representative or as an importer, using an independent only representative to register on their behalf, or working with their customers to help them register as importers.


What happens to my existing registrations when we leave the EU?

This will depend on what type of agreement the UK negotiates with the EU.

If we negotiate something similar to the Norway option your existing registrations will continue to be valid.

If we do not negotiate such an option it is not yet clear what would happen to these registrations. Would they simply be deactivated? Could they be transferred to another organisation such as an only representative? Whatever happens, it is likely to be an additional cost.


What happens if I’m the lead registrant and we don’t go for the “Norway option”?

If the current lead registrant is a UK company, a new lead registrant will need to be elected within the EU/EEA. It is also possible that an OR appointed by the UK company could become the new Lead Registrant. This is likely to require negotiations with the other existing and potential registrants, and may also require renegotiations on cost sharing for data and other requirements.


Should I carry on preparing for 2018 registrations or wait to see what happens?

This will to some extent depend on how important these substances are to you commercially. You might like to ask yourself questions such as is the substance still commercially viable, even if you need to use an only representative to register on your behalf? Are there other potential registrants who will get on with the job of getting the dossier ready if I sit back, or is there no-one else willing to take an active role in preparing for registration?

Preparing a registration dossier takes a considerable amount of time and effort, so for important substances it will probably still make sense to get on with the job of getting the data sorted and the dossier ready, but hold off on the actual submission until you know whether you will be able to submit yourself or will need to submit through an only representative.


I am currently planning to be the lead registrant in 2018 for one of my substances? Should I continue in this role for now, or step down in favour of a non-UK company?

Like the question above, this will depend on how important the substance is to you, whether there are other companies willing to take the lead role, and so on. If we do end up completely out and you find that you will have to register through an OR, it will be possible for the OR to take the lead registrant role on your behalf. It would be a good idea to discuss these scenarios with the other potential registrants to see if they would be happy with this solution.


If we don’t take the “Norway option”, what will happen in the UK to REACH and CLP when we leave?

The UK government is embarking on a review of all existing UK legislation derived from EU directives and regulations, including REACH and CLP, to identify what regulatory gaps we will be left with, and how and if we should fill those gaps once we exit the EU.


UK regulations based on directives will continue to apply, but it will be up to the UK government in future to decide whether to update them to keep pace with changes to the directives they are based on. However, some amendments will still be needed where these UK regulations make reference to EU regulations for definitions etc. For example, many UK regulations such as COSHH, the Safety Signs Regulations etc., rely on the CLP Regulation for the identification of hazardous substances.


For directly acting EU regulations such as REACH and CLP, these will cease to apply once the UK leaves the EU, and will need to be replicated or replaced with an alternative. Although the UK could decide to try and simplify its health and safety, and environmental regulations, it is unlikely that the public would accept any reduction in protection from such measures.


Since CLP is derived from the GHS, which is being adopted around the world we will, no doubt, also want to continue with a GHS based system. It seems likely that we would probably also want to adopt the same GHS building blocks as the EU and update the new legislation on a similar time frame to CLP to help companies comply more easily and avoid conflicts with existing UK regulations

Brexit, REACH and CLP

 It’s early days and there are still a lot of questions without answers.  Here, we try to answer some of the initial questions you may have. We will add to this page as more answers become available.  The HSE hope to have some answers by March 2018, one year ahead of 'exit', but there is expected to be a further transitiopn period.