The transition period until 31st December 2020 has now ended.  The UK no longer trades as a member of the EU and is regarded as a third country for the purposes of importing and exporting. 

European legislation, including REACH, no longer applies and registrations by UK companies are no longer valid.  The UK has introduced its replacement, UK REACH, with a new database that became live on 1st January.  If you manufacture, import or use  chemicals, put into action your plans to ensure business continuity and to comply with UK REACH. Here are some examples of issues to consider if you supply products to, or import them from Europe.

  • UK-based Manufacturer : You can appoint an Only Representative (OR) based in the EU. This could be a subsidiary of your company or a specialist company. This means that your customers/downstream users (DU) in Europe will not have to make their own expensive registrations.   

There is a short window to grandfather your existing or previous registrations at no charge into the new UK database.  Alemare has tested the procedure and it is straightforward.  We have, however, identified a possible obstacle that must be clarified for companies required to make immediate new registrations. 

  • UK-based Importers : You cannot appoint an OR to register substances from third countries that you afterward send to Europe. You must instead set up an operation in the EU.  You must grandfather your existing registrations into the UK database.

  • Non-EU manufacturers with a UK-based Only Representative : In order to supply the EU, you must replace it by an OR based in the EU. You will, however, still require a UK-based Only Representative for your exports into the UK.  The easiest option is to re-appoint the UK Only Representative who will be able to grandfather his registrations into the UK database

If you are already importing registered substances from the EU, the situation is easier.  The UK replacement for REACH is similar in its operation to EU REACH.  There will now be a short period to Notify your imports to UK REACH and provide basic details (e.g. substance, company, tonnage). A full registration requirement will follow up to six years later.  If you already hold a registration, you can "grandfather" it into the UK database.


Warning: Imports from the EU are now treated the same as from the Rest of World. In the same way, registrations by EU manufacturers and importers are longer valid for the UK. They can, however, be appoint UK based Only Representatives.

  • Companies holding EU Authorizations : Authorisations in the name of UK legal entities will also cease to exist after Brexit.  It will, however, be possible to grandfather these into UK-REACH.  If you have unfortunately applied for authorisation but are waiting for a decision, you must submit it again to UK-REACH, that will respect EU decisions.

All UK based chemical manufacturers and users should be auditing supply chains now to identify any chemical purchases that cross EU/UK borders. You must understand the degree to which you are affected and the preparation measures you should be taking.

With continued political uncertainty regarding the withdrawal agreement, the Agency urges companies to act now to continue compliance with their obligations under not only REACH but the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP); Prior Informed Consent (PIC); and Biocidal Products (BPR) regulations.

We also advise companies to refer to the Brexit guidance published on the UK Health and Safety Executive website.

If you would like further information or guidance on what you should be doing, please contact us via our Contact page.

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Alemare Solutions Limited, Boston Enterprise Centre, Boston PE21 7TW, United Kingdom

Reg: 05786053 (England)