Farms and other businesses using chemicals have been told what actions they will need to take to minimise disruption in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
New guidance issued today by the Government explains that if the UK leaves the European Union on March 29 without a deal, UK businesses that manufacture or import chemicals from the EU will have to register those chemicals to a new UK regulatory system.
UK REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) will replace EU REACH and will require businesses to demonstrate how a chemical can be safely used with minimal risk to human health or the environment.
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The chemicals sector is the UK’s second biggest manufacturing industry and UK businesses currently hold over 12,000 registrations with REACH.
A ‘no deal’ would mean that a range of other key sectors would also be required to register any imported chemicals they use on UK REACH, including the motor manufacturing, cosmetics, construction and cleaning products industries.
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Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Delivering a negotiated deal with the EU remains the Government’s top priority, but it is the job of a responsible Government to ensure we are prepared for all scenarios, including no deal.
“It is not just chemicals producers that could be affected by this change so I encourage all businesses that use chemicals to read the guidance on the HSE website and check whether they need to take action.”
Under the new requirements, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal UK businesses that manufacture a chemical will need to validate their existing EU REACH registration with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) within 60 days of the UK leaving the EU.
UK businesses that import a chemical substance from the EU will need to setup a new registration with HSE within 180 days of UK leaving the EU and UK businesses that export chemicals to the EU will need to have an EU REACH registration in place once the UK leaves the EU.
More technical information will need to be submitted by businesses to HSE within two years of Brexit.
In order to register on UK REACH in a no-deal scenario, Defra said businesses need to identify the chemical and quantity that they use, understand how to register that chemical by reading the EU Exit guidance, and prepare the information for that registration.