UK Government Seeks Stakeholder Input on New Chemical Regulation Model to Ease Transition to UK REACH

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The UK government is inviting feedback from chemical businesses, downstream users, and other stakeholders on proposed changes to UK REACH through an alternative transitional registration model (ATRm). This model is intended to maintain high standards of human health and environmental protection while lowering the costs associated with transitioning to the UK’s domestic chemical regulation regime.

Since 2021, Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) has implemented its own chemical regulation system, retaining key aspects of EU REACH but modifying them for domestic use. The transition to UK REACH is projected to cost the British chemical industry £2bn.

In November, the government revealed plans for the ATRm to facilitate this transition. The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, in collaboration with the Health and Safety Executive and the Environmental Agency, developed the model after thoroughly analysing the current UK REACH requirements.

The proposal aims to streamline chemical registration, avoiding redundant information submissions that UK companies must make to both UK and EU REACH to trade chemicals in Europe. The government is seeking input from the public, particularly from chemical businesses, downstream users, and non-governmental organisations, on the ATRm. Additionally, they are consulting on making the restriction and reporting processes more efficient, enhancing protections against unnecessary animal testing, and assessing the impacts on trade.

The Chemicals Industry Association (CIA), representing UK chemical and pharmaceutical companies, expressed relief at seeing a concrete proposal after years of extensive debate. They emphasised the importance of ensuring the legislation is practical for UK manufacturers while continuing to protect health and the environment.

CIA hopes this announcement will lead to regulatory certainty, encouraging UK investment. They also expressed the need for swift implementation by any future government.

Tim Doggett, CEO of the Chemical Business Association (CBA), acknowledged the challenges UK REACH posed to trade and business. He welcomed the consultation but noted that significant work remains. The CBA will keep collaborating with partners and stakeholders to advance the interests of the entire chemical supply chain.

The consultation period will end on 11 July 2024.