It of course remains unclear whether we shall remain within the ambit of the EU REACH system or under a bespoke UK REACH system in the longer term. Hopefully we have to the end of the transitional arrangements, rather than precipitously in face of a no deal scenario on 31 January, to get to grips with the longer term arrangements. Either way a lot of uncertainly persists on how UK REACH will work remains. Initial signs are not great, with HSE as the enforcement authority for UK REACH seemingly quite unprepared and some major questions unresolved.
The Alliance of Chemical Associations (ACA), representing 12 industry associations with a combined membership of 1,300 companies, has written to the Business Secretary, the Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, highlighting the industry’s issues with UK REACH. The letter focuses particularly on data sharing, implementation timescales and the disproportionate level of registration fees payable under UK REACH.
Powers to amend UK REACH in new Environment Bill
The new Environment Bill includes clauses that will allow UK REACH to be amended post-Brexit. The Government says this will allow it to ‘take further steps where necessary to ensure a smooth transition to a UK chemicals regime following the UK’s exit from the EU. It will also make it possible to keep the legislation up to date and respond to emerging needs or ambitions for the effective management of chemicals.’ These provisions would also be required should the Government be planning to diverge from the framework created by EU REACH after the UK leaves the EU.