Latest updates on UK REACH

What are the latest developments regarding UK REACH? By Dean Winder, CIRS

An update on UK REACH.
An update on UK REACH. Image source: vectorfusionart - Stock.adobe

In our experience, any company that has processed or may in the future process a UK REACH registration should consider the following points. 

Deadline extension and tonnage band thresholds

Many of the UK REACH regulations were taken directly from the EU REACH regulations that were in force at the end of the Brexit transition period this includes the “Per Calender Year Tonnage Band” requirement. Effectively from if a company places a particular substance on the market in the UK above the tonnage band limit in a calendar year, this will indicate the tonnage band they should register in. There was also an additional sentence added to the UK REACH regulations which states “at least once after IP completion day”. Therefore, if you have imported more than the requisite tonnage detailed in the specific tonnage bands (1–10, 10–100, 100–1000, or 1000+ tonnes per year), after 1st January 2021, then your registration date is fixed by exceeding the tonnage band limit.

For example, if in 2021 your company placed 990 t of a substance on the GB market, for 2021 they would be in the 100–1000 tonnage band benefiting from the grace period related to 100 t or more per year and would only need to complete the full registration by the 27 October 2028. However, if in 2022 the same company placed 1001 t of the same substance on the UK market they would fall into the 1000+ tonnage band and because of the “once after IP completion day” regulation would be required to complete the full registration by the 27 October 2026 even if they dropped to below 1000 t the following year. This is an important part of the regulations that many companies may not be aware of which could lead to non-compliance in the future and must be monitored carefully.

Supplier requirements

UK REACH as a whole is currently in a transition period where the full registration of chemical substances will be completed on a phased basis depending on the hazardous nature of the substance and the quantity of that substance being placed on the UK market. This system aims to ensure that for suppliers and downstream users their businesses will remain largely unaffected during this time and allow trade as was seen under EU REACH. Substances that were registered by suppliers under EU REACH and then who processed grandfathering or DUIN (Downstream User Import Notification) for those substances are considered “Protected Transitional Substances”. The UK REACH regulations for this, specifically link suppliers to customers and UK REACH to EU registrations. These vital details mean that changing supplier during the “UK REACH Transitional Phase” is not a simple and easy process.

Due to this, two common scenarios may arise, which suppliers and customers should be aware of.

Scenario 1: Non-UK based manufacturer or formulator has appointed a UK-based OR (Only Representative), who then undertook the requisite DUIN Notification on their behalf. The non-UK company would like to supply a new UK-based company that they have never supplied before.

The DUIN process was allowed because of the existing supply chain between the non-UK supplier and the UK-based customer. Therefore, the supplier, OR, and customer are all linked under the definition of “Protected Transitional Imports” as the product was EU registered with existing UK/GB customer and the product had been supplied between the 31 of January 2019 and the 1 of January 2021.

As the non-UK company has never supplied this “new” UK customer before they do not meet the requirements of DUIN. Additionally, the non-UK entity would not be able to rely on the OR’s DUIN notification as the product would not benefit from “protected transitional import status” and the NRES (New Registration For Existing Substances) process will apply in order to be able to supply this “new” customer.

Scenario 2: UK-based entity imported EU REACH registered products they undertook a DUIN notification themselves and would now like to change supplier of their product.

As seen in Scenario 1 the DUIN process was allowed because of the existing supply chain between the non-UK supplier and the UK-based customer. The customer/importer benefits from “Protected Transitional Imports” status as the product was EU registered with an existing UK/GB customer and the product had been supplied between the 31 of January 2019 and the 1 of January 2021.

The UK-based customer’s DUIN allows them to purchase from an alternative source so long as the new supplier of the product is registered within the EU REACH system. If they wish to purchase from a company that does not have an EU REACH registration for the product, then the NRES process will apply.

DUIN update

The DUIN has been available to both Non-UK and UK-based companies to register their substances if they fulfill the following criteria:

  • the company is a non-UK manufacturer or formulator that holds an EU REACH registration for the target substance,
  • the company is a UK-based importer who was importing from an EU REACH registered supplier,
  • the target substances had been supplied between the 31 of January 2019 and the 1 of January 2021.

The DUIN deadline officially passed on the 27 of October 2021, meaning that any company that continues to place any substance on the UK market that has not been registered is non-compliant with the regulations. However, the authorities are still accepting applications to allow companies to become compliant as the portal remains open.

The NRES process

The NRES is required for any substance that does not meet the requirements for grandfathering, the DUIN, or situations seen in the above sections, to allow these substances to become compliant and prevent limitations on the UK market. The process has two distinct aspects which must be considered when determining if the NRES is required.

  • EU registered materials
  • non-EU registered materials

Both require the submission of an Article 26 inquiry to begin the process. The paths then diverge depending on the registration status of the substance. Following this, the full registration data will be required to obtain the registration number. The UK authorities do recognise that the full data will not be immediately available and have allowed on a case-by-case basis the submission of a data waiver deferring the submission of the full data but allowing access to the registration for that registrant.

The UK REACH system revision

As UK REACH is still in its infancy, the UK authorities have been open to feedback from the chemicals industry on the current system and potential improvements that will benefit the UK chemicals industry while maintaining and protecting regulatory standards and the public as a whole. The authorities are only exploring the possibility of revising the system and there is no confirmation that anything will change but we can share some of the details being considered.

In broad terms, the substance groups would use public data to agree on a hazard profile for a substance. They would submit this to Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in the form of a Substance Hazard Information Profile (SHIP). The individual registrants would also provide a registrant-specific risk assessment focusing on GB use and exposure. The HSE and DEFRA are undertakin “one-to-one” interviews with identified stakeholders to discuss this and more details will be provided should a system revision be announced. An amending regulation was published to extend the registration timeline to allow time for a thorough review of the system and report to be published.

Summary and tips

  • Be sure to closely record the tonnage of your substance being placed on the UK market as exceeding a specific tonnage band at any point will lock in your full registration date.
  • Be aware of the requirements if you are considering changing suppliers.
  • Important questions are the supplier EU registered?
  • Have you completed your DUIN or will an NRES be required?
  • The DUIN is still available for companies that meet the criteria, we recommend acting sooner rather than later to become compliant and avoid any potential future issues.
  • Be aware of the NRES requirements for any “new” substances you wish to place on the UK market.

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