The REACH etc. Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/758) and the REACH etc. Regulations 2019 (SI 2019/858)
Comes into force: The day the UK leaves the EU
These Regulations come into force on the day the UK leaves the EU (‘Exit Day’). They amend how REACH will apply in the UK on the basis that the UK leaves the EU without a transition period. In the event that the UK leaves the EU with a deal, it is anticipated that there will be a transition period during which EU Regulations will continue to be directly applicable in the UK. In that event, the UK Government will pass additional legislation which is likely to change the implementation timescales in these Amendment Regulations.
Prior to the UK leaving the European Union (EU), the Regulation (EC) No. 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (“REACH”) is directly enforceable in the UK. On the day the UK leaves the EU (‘Exit Day’) the REACH Regulation in its form immediately before ‘Exit Day’ is incorporated into UK domestic legislation (i.e. it will continue to be enforceable in the UK). This is enacted by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018.
The key change is to transfer functions which were performed by the European Commission and the European Chemicals Agency back to UK Ministers and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE). Subsequent amendments to REACH made by the EU after ‘Exit Day’ are not incorporated into UK domestic law unless by separate UK legislation.
The effect of these changes is that following ‘Exit Day’, there are two parallel “REACH regimes”. The EU REACH regime which remains unchanged, and a similar but not identical UK REACH regime.
Under the UK REACH regime, the general principles and concepts in EU REACH remain unchanged, and the duties of businesses that make or supply chemicals are essentially the same. However, the administration and regulation of REACH is significantly changed. UK organisations will no longer be able to access EU bodies such as the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA). Therefore, in the UK, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) will perform similar functions to that of the ECHA in the EU, and organisations making or selling chemicals in the UK will need to register those chemicals with the HSE.
The key amendments cover the following:
- Terminology and definitions
- UK regulators and powers
- The internal market
- Candidate list, authorisation list, restriction list
- Registration of substances
- Existing EU registrations (i.e. registrations held with ECHA) are copied across on ‘Exit Day’ to become UK registrations provided the holder of the registration is or was established in the UK within the 2 years prior to ‘Exit Day’.
- Notification of articles
- Safety data sheets
- Retention of information