UK to launch consultation on chemicals policy

Article by Amanda Doyle

THE UK Government has said that it will launch a consultation next year on the UK REACH chemicals regulatory system, with the possibility of extending deadlines for providing data.

When the UK left the EU, it also controversially left the EU chemical regulatory system – REACH – and decided instead to implement its own version known as UK REACH. This came into effect on 1 January 2021 with an initial deadline of two years for companies to register their products on the new system. This deadline was then extended to up to six years depending on how hazardous the chemical is. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) has now said that it will launch a consultation next year on the possibility of extending the deadlines for providing full registration data.

It has also said that the consultation will review the need for industry to replicate existing EU REACH data for the new UK system.

A Defra spokesperson said: “Now we have left the EU, we are able to review our legislation to see whether we can deliver more effective and efficient outcomes for both the environment and businesses.

“We will continue to work closely with industry and other interested stakeholders to understand their concerns and discuss how these might be addressed, while ensuring our high levels of protection of human health and the environment.”

The Chemical Industries Association said in a statement: “We are pleased that the impact of duplicating the cost of our decade-long investment in EU REACH has been recognised by Government. Confirmation that, subject to consultation, the Government is minded to extend existing UK REACH deadlines, provides more time to carry out further work on a longer term solution which can deliver the same, if not better, outcomes in regulating chemicals in the UK, whilst reducing those unnecessary costs generated by the costly data duplication exercise required by the current UK REACH regime.

“The industry understands and supports the need for robust chemical regulation, and today’s confirmation allows for a more forward-looking approach to managing chemicals in the UK from a commercial, health and environmental perspective.

“We look forward to working with the Government and all other stakeholders on next steps.”

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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