Brexit implementation period and the Chemicals sector

Date: 13 July 2018

UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has recently published important information regarding the BREXIT implementation period and the chemicals sector.
During the implementation period the UK will no longer be a Member State of the European Union, but UK-EU trade will be able to continue on the same terms as now up until the end of 2020.


Accordingly, the following will apply:

  • 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. 

As stated in the draft Withdrawal Agreement, its finalisation is planned to be done by October 2018. The implementation period will consequently start on 30 March 2019 and last until 31 December 2020. For more information, please refer to HSE's website.

In a new Brexit White Paper UK reiterated its desire to form a future economic relationship with EU and ECHA. Even without voting rights UK will make sure that businesses could continue registering their substances directly on the EU and UK market without the need to work through an EU-based only representative (OR). The Paper proposes that all registrations and authorisations completed during the implementation period will be recognised as valid in EU and UK and the access to relevant IT systems will ensure the smooth transition.