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Due to Brexit, the United Kingdom (UK) has enacted several regulations deviating from the European Union. One example is the replacement of EU REACH with UK REACH for products produced or imported into Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales).

What is UK REACH ?

What is UK REACH?

REACH SVHC applies to most substances, mixtures, and articles (products). There are now two versions of the REACH regulation in the EU and the UK.

As of January 1st, 2021, REACH in the United Kingdom essentially applies to manufacturers and importers of substances, mixtures, and articles. Businesses planning to manufacture, market, or import chemical products into Great Britain (GB) must adhere to the UK REACH regulation. Notably, the EU REACH regulation still applies to Northern Ireland.

What Stays the Same Between EU and UK REACH?

The same following REACH principles apply to both markets:

  • Maintaining the precautionary principle, for example, when the authorities consider a new declarable substance of very high concern (SVHC);
  • No data on chemicals means no access to the market;
  • Notifying workers using chemicals or articles containing any SVHC;
  • Animal testing should be the last resort when analyzing chemicals.

What Changes Between the Two Jurisdictions?

REACh database Registration

In a nutshell, the UK and EU REACH registration and authorization systems are being managed separately. Therefore, the UK and the EU are developing two distinct chemical databases.

As a result, importers will have to specifically disclose the chemicals in both the UK and the EU registration systems.

For instance, if you import a specific SVHC in your articles in quantities exceeding 1 ton per year in the UK and the EU, you must register this SVHC in both databases. Nevertheless, this type of registration benefits from a grandfathering process of up to 6 years.

UK REACH Registration

Manufacturers and importers in Great Britain must complete the registration process. Like EU REACH, as a registrant under the UK version, you must gather information on the chemicals you manufacture or import into Great Britain in quantities exceeding one tonne per year. The following substances are subject to registration:

  1. Chemicals on their own,
  2. Substances in mixtures (formulations), and
  3. Substances in articles (in a few specific cases).
UK REACH Registration


Like the SCIP database for EU REACH, producers and importers must register the substances through an IT system called Comply with UK REACH. Companies outside Great Britain should delegate the registration to a GB-based Only Representative (OR). Registration is per substance and per legal entity. Additionally, if there are multiple registrants for a substance, co-registrants should select a lead registrant to submit the information on their behalf.

The advantages of joint registration are:

  • Avoiding the need to repeat studies
  • Lowering expenses for your company
  • Eliminating unnecessary animal testing

Useful Resources

From the UK

UK REACH Resources

On September 1st, 2020, the UK government updated its guidance on how to comply with REACH chemical regulations. The UK government is also launching the online support service Comply with UK REACH (explained above) on January 1st, 2021.

From the European Union

UK REACH european resources

Moreover, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) has been developing the online UK REACH support tool  “How will the UK withdrawal affect you?”.

First, the tool asks you to select the option that best describes your connection to the EU market and your role in the supply chain. Upon selection, the site leads you to an article that explains how Brexit affects you and the regulations you must follow.

Other Brexit Changes

Blue Guide 2022 on CE marking

Another change in environmental compliance since the UK split from the European Union is the replacement of the CE marking with the UKCA mark for articles in the UK. The new label came into effect on January 1st, 2021. However, the CE mark remains a valid equivalent of UKCA. 

The marking includes EU RoHS and Ecodesign requirements for electrical and electronic equipment.

As with REACH, the rules between the UK and EU versions are almost the same, but manufacturers must add both logos to their products if introducing products to both markets.

Finally, for more detail concerning the UKCA marking, consult our article on the expectations for producers surrounding the new regulation.

The UKCA label

Contact Enviropass if you need to know more about REACH and how to comply with it.