HSE Updates Advice for Chemical Industry as BREXIT Looms

UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has updated its advice for Britain’s chemical industry in anticipation of BREXIT, and has assured companies that safe management of chemicals will remain a priority once the UK eventually leaves the EU.

With the leave date officially set as March 29 2019, negotiators have reached agreement on a planned implementation period that will last until the end of 2020. The latest advice from HSE is intended to assist businesses affected by chemical regulatory processes who are unsure how this implementation period will work.

During the implementation period, the UK will no longer be a Member State of the European Union, but will continue to have market access on current terms. This means that UK-EU trade will be able to continue on current terms up until the end of 2020.

What businesses need to know about the implementation period

  • Registrations, approvals, authorisations and classifications in place before March 2019 will continue to be valid during the implementation period in the same way that they are now.
  • REACH will continue to apply to the UK during the implementation period.
  • The process for registering new chemicals under REACH during the implementation period will remain the same as it is now, which will require UK companies to register with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).
  • During the implementation period, the UK will recognise all new registrations, approvals, authorisations and classifications granted by the EU.
  • During the implementation period, we expect that HSE will not be able to act as a ‘leading authority’ to conduct certain assessments under the Plant Protection Products, Biocides and REACH regulations. We will work with affected businesses to minimise disruption and delay to their ongoing assessments.
  • UK-based businesses will have the same rights during the implementation period as EU-based businesses to have their cases accepted and processed by ‘leading authorities’ based in other EU member states.
  • HSE will continue to process product applications under the Biocidal and Plant Protection Products Regulation for the UK market under the national authorisation route during the implementation period. Any applications will be considered against the current rules and standards.

HSE said it fully recognises the importance of the chemicals sector to the UK economy and its contribution to other sectors, such as automotive, aerospace and life sciences. Testament to this, HSE said their priorities were to ensure the continued effective and safe management of chemicals to safeguard human health and the environment, respond to emerging risks, and allow trade with the EU that is as frictionless as possible.

The agency added that it was confident of a “positive outcome from the negotiations with the EU", but that like any responsible government agency, it was also preparing for a hard-exit scenario.

You can access the complete advice here.

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