London – The UK government is to phase in requirements for full registration of chemicals under the UK REACH regime by up to six years, under new guidelines* issued 1 Sept by Defra (department for environment, food & rural affairs ).
Westminster had previously signalled its intention to require registration under UK version of the EU’s chemicals safety regime within a two-year timeframe.
The reset, which is “subject to scrutiny by parliament” follows an evidence-gathering exercise by the government to understand the impact of UK REACH on the chemical sector and its supply chains.
This concluded with a proposal to introduce a phased six-year timeframe based on tonnage for the future registration of chemicals in the UK. Deadlines start to apply from 28 October 2021.
According to trade body the Chemical Industries Association, the timeframe will allow companies to spread costs and resources over a longer period of time compared to the two-years initially planned.
“The extension of the registration timeframe is something we have been calling for and I am pleased the government has listened to the arguments we put forward,” said Nishma Patel, policy director at London-based CIA.
“Whilst not avoiding a separate registration scheme and future replication of registrations in the UK, the proposed timeline will support businesses in better managing the future registration process in the UK and minimise disruption to supply chains.
Transposing REACH into UK law following the UK withdrawal from the EU represents a long-standing concern for the chemical industry, according to Patel.
Challenges, she said, include setting up future UK joint registrations and sharing data within the new, complex scenarios companies will face in maintaining access to both the UK and EU markets.
“While we welcome the announcement, there needs to be a deal between the UK and EU on a future relationship that will include close cooperation and an agreement on chemical data,” concluded Patel.
The CIA has previously estimated that UK REACH would cost the chemicals industry an extra €1.1 billion.
*The tonnage bands are:
Deadline / Tonnage / Hazardous Property
Two years from 28 Oct 2021 / 1000 tonnes or more per year / Carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction (CMRs) - 1 tonne or more per year
Very toxic to aquatic organisms (acute or chronic) - 100 tonnes or more per year
Candidate list substances (as at 31 Dec 2020)
Four years from 28 Oct 2021 / 100 tonnes or more per year / Candidate list substances (as at 27 Oct 2023)
Six years from 28 Oct 2021 / 1 tonne or more per year.