Preparing for UK REACH as Brexit Deadline Looms

UK REACH, a counterpart of EU REACH developed in the wake of Brexit, will come into force on 1 January 2021. Originally, companies were given a two-year deadline to comply. But criticism and concern over deadline feasibility and financial burdens have recently led to an extension for UK REACH requirements. While this deadline extension may come as a relief, your company needs to begin gathering chemicals data now to both understand your new deadline and avoid a time crunch later on.

Although UK REACH will maintain many of the same requirements of EU REACH, some divergence is to be expected. UK REACH is a completely separate regulation with a new reporting system. This will require extra costs and time investments for companies, especially if they wish to retain access to both the EU and the UK markets — while avoiding disruptions in their supply chain. Getting ahead now will help your company stay in the future UK market because, as with EU REACH, the “no data, no market” principle applies.

UK REACH Deadline Extension

When the two-year deadline for UK REACH compliance was announced, many industry professionals criticized this timeline, arguing that in many cases it would be too difficult to gather accurate data in this short timeframe. This could lead to supply disruptions, as companies unable to gather the data in two years or companies who decide it is too expensive to do so might pull their products from the UK market.

In response to these criticisms, the UK has extended the deadline for compliance to two, four or six years, depending on tonnage bands and hazards. Higher tonnage band chemicals and chemicals with a higher toxicity will need to be registered sooner. Those on the lower end of the spectrum will have later deadlines.

DeadlineTonnage and Substance Properties
28 October 2023
  • 1000 tonnes or more per year
  • Very toxic to aquatic organisms: 100 tonnes or more per year
  • Carcinogens, Mutagens & Reprotoxins (CMRs) and Substances on UK Candidate List substances as of 31 December 2020: 1 tonne or more per year
28 October 2025
  • 100 tonnes or more per year
  • Substances on UK Candidate List substances as of 27 October 2023: 1 tonne or more per year
28   October 2027
  • 1 tonne or more per year

Requirements for Downstream Users

Companies importing chemicals from the European Economic Area (EEA), known as downstream users, can continue to do so after 1 January 2021, but they must make a Downstream User Import Notification (DUIN) by 28 October 2021. After that date, they will be subject to the full registration deadlines.

Downstream users may also request their EU supplier either appoint a UK-based Only Representative or source their materials from a UK-registered supplier.

REACH and UK REACH Similarities

Because UK REACH is in large part mimicking the EU REACH framework, many similarities will exist. The substances that are excluded from EU REACH requirements will also be excluded from UK REACH:

  • Radioactive substances
  • Substances under customs supervision
  • Substances transported through the UK that do not enter UK customs territory
  • Non-isolated intermediates, waste and some naturally occurring low-hazard substances

Many aspects of EU REACH will also be transposed directly into UK REACH:

  • The ECHA candidate list as of 31 December 2020
  • The Authorization List (Annex XIV) of EU REACH as of 31 December 2020, including all substances, sunset dates and latest application dates
  • Restrictions listed in Annex XVII of EU REACH as of 31 December 2020

Additionally, updates to the Candidate List, Annex XIV and Annex XVII will be subject to the same legal criteria as EU REACH. This does not, however, mean that the two systems will remain in parallel. Once UK REACH comes into force, it is not required to maintain alignment with EU REACH. Therefore some divergence is to be expected in the future.

Preparing for UK REACH

When your company plans ahead for UK REACH requirements, you will decrease the possible difficulties your company could face — from the cost of gathering and maintaining data to the risk of supply chain disruption.

Take the vital steps now to fully prepared for UK REACH requirements:

Survey Your Supply Chain

Begin analyzing your supply chain. If you are located outside of the UK, understand what parts of your supply chain might be located in the UK. If you are in the UK, make sure you understand what parts of your supply chain are in the EU.

Know where in your supply chain you are going to need to gather data from. Begin communicating with both your suppliers and customers now.

Gather Chemicals Data

Where you can, begin gathering chemicals data. You will need to know all the substances your products use and the ingredients of each mixture. Getting a head start will be extremely advantageous for seamless reporting and market-compliance.

Understand Your Deadline

Understand your tonnage band and the risk level of the chemicals in your materials. Make sure you know your specific deadline so you are ready to comply with it.

Get Support

For further support preparing for UK REACH, contact Tetra Tech’s compliance experts. Our global compliance team can help you analyze your supply chain and implement a system for gathering necessary chemicals data. We can equip your compliance team with the skills and knowledge needed to report within UK REACH with accuracy and efficiency.

In 2021, make sure your products can stay on the market for years to come by meeting UK REACH requirements confidently — contact us today.


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