The Chemical Business Association (CBA) has proposed a solution “that will make UK REACH workable” by solving the crucial issue of access to testing data.
The proposal, according to CBA, will ensure that UK companies have continued frictionless access to the EU market post-Brexit as well as EU companies enjoying a similar level of access to the UK market.
CBA has suggested that European Substance Information Exchange Forums (SIEFs) currently holding the majority of chemical test data supporting EU REACH registrations are allowed to submit a full registration dossier to the UK authority Health & Safety Executive (HSE), free of charge.
This would apply equally to lead registrants and SIEFs whether they are based in the EU or the UK, CBA said in a recent statement.
The UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is considering CBA’s proposal. “Our proposal solves two problems simultaneously,” explained Peter Newport, CBA’s chief executive.
“It means companies registering substances under UK REACH, almost all of which do not own or have access to testing data, can rely on the same testing data that supports their EU REACH registrations. It also means that the IT system’s data content underpinning both the UK and EU regulatory systems are identical, therefore ensuring continued and consistent high standards of chemical safety.”
Under the CBA proposal, SIEF participants in the UK holding valid EU REACH registrations would be able to negotiate an extension to their current ‘letter of access’ to cover the UK regime.
Based on the proposal, new UK REACH registrants would notify the HSE and be directed to the European SIEF to obtain access to the data package in the same way as EU REACH currently operates.
If a European SIEF is selected to perform new tests or gather further data, they would then update both ECHA (EU REACH) and HSE (UK REACH) for future consistency.
According to Newport, if the approach is adopted, the UK should be able to complete the registrations for the substances within the two-year timescale proposed by the government.
“This timescale is impractical without adopting a solution of this kind,” he concluded.
In the case of a no-deal Brexit, UK companies manufacturing or importing 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 following the UK’s departure from the EU, currently scheduled for 31 October.