UK REACH, a new regulatory framework independent of EU REACH, will come into effect when the UK exits the European Union on 1st January 2021.

The UK will activate its independent REACH regime when the Brexit transition period ends, and will not be seeking associate membership of the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

The government has stated that their focus is now on developing and refining the systems and processes for UK REACH, and carrying out a comprehensive review of its previous guidance for businesses.  It is also looking seriously at whether there are steps they can take to help mitigate the significant cost and burden to the chemical industry.


Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH), is an EU regulation that protects human health and environment from the risks that could be posed by chemicals. This will be replaced by UK Reach which will retain the objectives, but operate separately from EU Reach, and will not be within the jurisdiction of the European Courts of Justice.

When the UK leaves the ECHA, both UK and EU companies will have to register anew the chemical substances they manufacture or import with UK REACH.

To facilitate the transition, the UK government has allowed a two-year time period for companies to submit technical information to gain UK Reach. Where data may not be available, or insufficient to meet requirements, new testing would be necessary. Registration costs are currently expected to be the same as for EU Reach.

UK-based companies with EU Reach registrations can carry across the registration to UK Reach. Companies must provide basic information within 120 days of the regulation coming into force, followed by technical information within two years of that date. At present the process will need to be completed within the two year deadline, although Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) officials have indicated that this could be extended.

Data Sharing

The UK’s draft agreement looks to conclude a data-sharing deal by the end of the year, and Defra have advised that they have already legislated to ensure existing EU REACH registrations held by UK companies will be carried over. If the UK does not agree to a data sharing agreement with the EU, companies will need to purchase rights (Letters of Access)  for UK registration purposes.

UK-based exporters of chemical substances to the EU market would need to transfer their registrations to an EU-based legal entity or support their EU-based importers to become registrants. UK exporters could provide support by sharing technical data with customers.

EU-based companies with EU Reach registration will be able to notify the HSE of their intention to maintain operations in the UK market by submitting a Downstream User Import Notification within 180 days of UK Reach coming into force. This must be followed by a new registration to gain UK Reach within two years to retain UK market access.

The Chemicals Industries Association (CIA) has warned that a data-sharing deal would be necessary to prevent chemicals companies shouldering heavy costs to duplicate their data from the EU’s chemicals database to the UK Reach system.

Keep up to date

See the HSE website for UK REACH information updates.


Hibiscus Plc is ready to support you with the production of labels, and authoring of Safety Data Sheets, to allow a smooth transition into compliance for 2020 onwards.

Tel: 0113 242 4272



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