The UK has left the EU, and the transition period after Brexit comes to an end this year.
This page tells you what you’ll need to do from 1 January 2021. It will be updated if anything changes.
Check what else you need to do during the transition period.
UK REACH, the UK’s independent chemicals regulatory framework, starts on 1 January 2021. Anyone making, selling or distributing chemicals in the UK and the EU needs to follow UK REACH and EU REACH rules.
UK REACH will maintain EU REACH’s aims and principles. These include:
- the “no data, no market” principle
- the “last resort” principle on animal testing
- access to information for workers
- the precautionary principle
The government intends to extend the deadlines for submitting data under UK REACH transitional provisions subject to scrutiny by parliament and the devolved administrations. This guidance includes these extension dates rather than those currently provided in UK REACH legislation.
UK REACH for business
Under UK REACH, manufacturers and importers have a duty to register chemicals that access the UK market. GB-based companies currently registered with EU REACH will no longer be able to sell into the EEA market without transferring their registrations to an EU/EEA-based organisation.
Businesses must review their roles in the EU and UK REACH systems, and their current supply chains. They’ll need to take certain actions to access the EU/EEA and UK markets.
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the process for Northern Ireland businesses moving goods to and from the European Union under EU REACH will not change from 1 January 2021. Further guidance will be published for NI businesses moving goods into the GB market.
UK held registrations: ‘grandfathering’
EU REACH registrations held by UK-based companies will carry across directly into UK REACH, legally ‘grandfathering’ the registrations into the new regime.
UK-based holders of existing EU REACH registrations may continue the ‘grandfathering’ process by providing basic information to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) by 30 April 2021.
Holders must complete the grandfathering process within 2, 4 or 6 years of 28 October 2021, depending on their Tonnage Band Deadlines.
The information UK-based holders need to provide will be the same or very close to what holders previously provided. Defra will publish any changes to the information needed in September 2020.
EU held registrations: UK downstream Users
UK downstream users (who do not hold an EU REACH registration) currently importing chemicals from an EU/EEA country need to ensure the substances they purchase are covered by a valid UK REACH registration.
Businesses currently relying on a registration held by an EU/EEA-based company can continue importing substances as they do now on 1 January 2021. They will need to take subsequent actions to ensure that the chemical is registered for UK REACH purposes.
These UK downstream users must notify the HSE using a Downstream User Import Notification (DUIN) of their intention to continue importing substances from the EU/EEA by 27 October 2021.
A new registration must then be submitted to the HSE within 2, 4 or 6 years of 28 October 2021. Alternatively, UK downstream users can encourage their EU/EEA supplier to appoint a UK-based Only Representative (OR), or change their source to a UK registered supplier.
It’s possible to submit DUINs if a chemical is covered by a registration held by an EU/EEA-based OR and then sold into the UK.
Tonnage band deadlines
Under UK REACH, deadlines for the full submission of data to underpin registration dossiers will be staggered over a period of 6 years. These deadlines start from 28 October 2021, the end of the DUIN submission period.
These bands have been set to ensure those chemicals manufactured or imported at high tonnage, and those substances with particularly hazardous properties are registered first.
The tonnage bands are:
|Deadline Post 28 October 2021||Tonnage||Hazardous Property|
|2 years from 28 October 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 December 2020)
|4 years from 28 October 2021||100 tonnes or more per year||Candidate list substances (as at 27 October 2023)|
|6 years from 28 October 2021||1 tonne or more per year|
As the UK will be operating an independent regulatory system, UK downstream users will no longer be able to rely on EU REACH authorisation decisions addressed to companies in the EU/ EEA from 1 January 2021.
All existing authorisations which have gone through the full authorisation process (and have a review date) will be recognised by UK REACH. This means that chemicals can continue to be used by UK companies who rely on these authorisations. New authorisation applications, and authorisations waiting for EU/ECHA approval, must be submitted to UK REACH.
EU market access for UK business
GB-based entities currently holding EU REACH registration can continue exporting substances or mixtures to the EU/and EEA markets by either:
- transferring their registrations to an EU/EEA-based entity
- supporting their EU/EEA-based importers to become registrants
GB-based entities currently holding EU REACH registrations also need a valid UK REACH registration to maintain access to the UK market.
The European Chemical Agency (ECHA) explain how to transfer your UK REACH registrations before 1 January 2021.
Under the Northern Ireland Protocol, the process for Northern Ireland businesses moving goods to and from the European Union under EU REACH will not change from 1 January 2021.
Comply with UK REACH
The online service ‘Comply with UK REACH’ will go live on 1 January 2021. Businesses can use the service to:
- validate existing UK-held EU registrations (‘Grandfathering’)
- submit downstream user import notifications (DUIN)
- submit new substance registrations
- submit new product and process orientated research and development (PPORD) notifications
Businesses will need to coontact the HSE to ensure that they:
- validate existing UK-held product and process orientated research and development (PPORDs), known as ‘grandfathering’
- provide information on any authorisation matter,including new authorisation application, grandfathering of existing authorisations, and downstream user notifications of authorised uses
Importing from the EU to the UK
EU/EEA based companies who import chemicals into the UK under UK REACH must ensure that they are covered by a valid UK REACH registration.
These companies can register the substance under UK REACH through a UK-based OR or an affiliate UK importer.
If the EU/EEA company takes on registration obligations through a UK-based entity, their UK customers will retain their downstream user status.