REACH and Post-Brexit UK
March 30th, 2017
While the United Kingdom has formally begun the wider process of withdrawing from the European Union, the status of EU-level chemical legislation in the UK after Brexit is also being considered. PFA is following closely the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry ‘The Future of Chemicals Regulation after the EU Referendum’, announced at the end of last year.
The Environmental Audit Committee has held three public hearings in 2017:
- 7th February 2017, with evidence from environmental law experts and representatives from the NGO CHEM Trust;
- 21st February; with evidence from industry bodies, including representatives from the Chemical Industries Association and the Chemical Business Association;
- 7th March, with evidence from representatives of regulatory bodies such as ECHA, the Environment Agency, HSE, and DEFRA.
Key points of discussion have included the possibility of a mutual agreement between the UK and the EU. This may enable a mirroring of the EU REACH legislation in UK law, requiring similar or identical data for registration dossiers. A potential complication in devising such an agreement may be the UK seeking a different approach to the precautionary emphasis of the EU legislation, allowing for more risk-based chemicals legislation.
CBA has asked the UK government to press for amendments to the REACH legislation. In a statement described as a ‘stark message’, the industry body has stressed the importance of the UK government negotiating terms that will enable UK businesses’ continued access to the EU market. This could be through amendments to REACH or through an ‘opt-in’ for the UK chemicals industry.
The Future of Chemicals Regulation after the EU Referendum inquiry remains open for written submissions from interested parties.