The REACH (Amendment) Regulations 2023
Jurisdiction: Great Britain
Commencement: 19th July 2023
Amends: GB Retained: Regulation (EC) 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)
Regulation (EC) No 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (the “REACH” Regulation) concerns the registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals. The Regulation places duties primarily on the manufacturers and importers of chemical substances. There are also duties and restrictions on downstream users of some very hazardous chemicals.
Application in Great Britain
Following the UK’s departure from the European Union (EU), the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 incorporated all directly acting EU Regulations into law in Great Britain (GB). The GB versions of those EU Regulations have been amended to revise various definitions, terminology, authorities, etc. to GB rather than EU references and to provide for regulation and enforcement by GB rather than EU bodies. This entry describes the GB version of the REACH Regulation.
N.B. HSE guidance refers to ‘UK’ REACH’, even though UK REACH applies only in Great Britain. In order to remain consistent with HSE documentation, this summary uses the same terminology i.e. ‘UK’ REACH but it is important to note that UK REACH only applies in Great Britain.
Application in Northern Ireland
Although Northern Ireland has also left the EU, under the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the EU version of REACH continues to apply in Northern Ireland, not the UK version. There are however different arrangements for certain goods imported from Northern Ireland into GB. See the section about transitional arrangements and Northern Ireland in the duties section below.
Application to all substances
REACH concerns all chemical substances whether or not they are hazardous. However, certain substances are excluded entirely or almost entirely from REACH including radioactive substances, waste, food and food stuffs, cosmetics and medicines.
The REACH Regulation complements the GB version of Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (the ‘GB CLP Regulation’). Both apply duties primarily to manufacturers, importers and suppliers. There are also some more limited implications for downstream users. Organisations involved in manufacture and supply of chemicals need to be familiar with both Regulations.
Organisations which manufacture or import into GB 1 tonne or more of any chemical substance (whether or not it is hazardous) have a duty to gather information on the properties of the substance and register the information in a central database managed by the Health and Safety Executive (“HSE”). An organisation which manufactures or places substances on the market without registering them commits an offence.
Manufacturers and suppliers must provide information to customers about any hazardous properties of the substances they manufacture or supply. This duty is usually complied with by supplying Safety Data Sheets.
Very hazardous substances
One of the objectives of REACH is to restrict and ultimately phase out the use of some of the most hazardous substances (see “substances of very high concern” below). In pursuance of this objective and in accordance with REACH, the HSE will maintain lists of some ‘substances of very high concern’. Manufacturers, suppliers and downstream users must apply to the HSE for authorisation to manufacture, supply or use some of these substances. There are specific restrictions which apply to some of the listed substances. Eventually, GB may prohibit entirely the manufacture, supply and use of some of these most hazardous substances.
Note that registrations and authorisations granted by the European Chemicals Agency (‘ECHA’) to GB-based organisations prior to the end of the Brexit implementation period (31st December 2020) are automatically transferred across to the GB system, though the relevant organisation holding the registration or authorisation is required to notify certain information concerning the registration or authorisation to the HSE – see the transitional arrangements section below.
Various duties apply.
Following Brexit, in order to allow the Government time to develop a new transitional registration model for REACH, the following UK REACH information submission deadlines are extended by 3 years to:
- October 2026 for substances included on the EU REACH candidate list before UK REACH came into effect on 31st December 2020. This refers to substances listed in Article 127Pa and includes:
- substances that are carcinogenic, mutagenic or toxic for reproduction and manufactured or imported in quantities of 1 tonne a year or more;
- substances that are very toxic to aquatic life and manufactured or imported in quantities of 100 tonnes or more a year; and
- all substances manufactured or imported in quantities of 1,000 tonnes or more a year.
- October 2028 for substances added to the UK REACH candidate list before the October 2026 submission deadline, and for all substances manufactured or imported in quantities of 100 tonnes or more a year. This refers to substances listed in Article 127Pb.
- October 2030 for all substances manufactured in Great Britain or imported in quantities of 1 tonne or more a year per manufacturer or importer.
The period during which the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) is required to carry out compliance checks on at least 20% certain types of registration dossiers is extended to 27th October 2027.
It is expected that it will take until late 2024 to develop and legislate for the new model for transitional REACH registrations.
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