New UK REACH model could save businesses billions: Get involved

Regulation 1907/2006 concerning the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) is a regulation that applies to the majority of chemical substances with the aim of improving the protection of human health and the environment from the risks that can be posed by chemicals. Duties are held by manufacturers, importers, distributers and downstream users.

  • UK REACH applies to GB (England, Scotland and Wales) and is regulated by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
  • EU REACH is regulated by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

Organisations which place chemicals on the market in GB and the EU or NI have to comply with both versions of REACH.

Organisations who were previously covered by EU REACH who now need to transition to UK REACH will need to reapply for authorisation. This reapplication process involves the submission of previously submitted data which can be obtained from the ECHA for a fee or organisations can pay to redo the studies and research.

This can lead to significant costs to both organisations and the chemicals industry with an estimated cost of around £2 billion by 2030. Concerns are raised that this cost might lead to organisations not registering, reducing the amount substances available and causing supply chain issues.

Proposed changes

Following an in-depth analysis of the current UK REACH requirements, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), alongside the HSE and the Environment Agency (EA) have devised an Alternative Transitional Registration model (ATRm) for UK REACH.

The aim of this model is to help reduce costs to organisations transitioning from EU to UK REACH uphold existing human health and environmental protections by gaining better information on the use and exposure of substances in Great Britain.

These changes are proposed under a consultation which can be found here, with the policy paper found here.

Key points

Key points in the consultation include the following:
  • Refining what information on chemical ‘use and exposure’ registrants will need to provide.
  • Reducing the ‘hazard” information required for transitional registrations and intermediates to the essential minimum to reduce the need to access and pay for data packages held by the EU.
  • Significant reduction of the estimated £2 billion costs to industry associated with buying or accessing EU hazard information
  • Improving Regulator powers so that they can require and receive data from registrants quickly for regulatory or risk prioritisation purposes.
  • Reviewing the existing fees structure for UK REACH to ensure a more sustainable funding model.
  • Revising the UK REACH restriction processes to ensure flexibility to act as quickly as possible where risks have been identified.

For LUS subscribers you can view this consultation and many more on the links below:

Health and safety consultations
Environment consultations