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UK REACH BREXIT changes, how will they affect you?

September 7th, 2020

On 1st September the UK Government has updated its information on UK REACH and how that will operate after the transition period ends on 31st December 2020.

The information on the UK government website is succinct:


but some key points are highlighted here:

UK REACH will start on 1st January 2021

  • Anyone making, selling or distributing chemicals in the UK and the EU needs to follow UK REACH and EU REACH rules
  • To access the UK market, manufacturers (those making chemicals) and importers (those bringing in chemicals to the UK from outside the UK) have a duty to register chemicals.
  • From 1 January 2021 companies based in Great Britain ‘GB’ (England, Scotland and Wales) currently registered with EU REACH will no longer be able to sell into the EEA market without transferring their registrations to an EU/EEA-based organisation.  (For Northern Ireland businesses moving goods to and from the European Union under EU REACH will not change from 1 January 2021. Further guidance will be published for NI businesses moving goods into the GB market.)
  • EU REACH registrations currently held by UK-based registrants will be valid in UK REACH, legally ‘grandfathering’ (i.e. continuing an old rule in a new regime) the registrations.
  • The ‘grandfathering’ process can be continued by providing basic information to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) by 30 April 2021.
  • The grandfathering process must be completed within 2, 4 or 6 years of 28 October 2021, depending on Tonnage Band Deadlines. The information UK-based holders need to provide will be the same or very close to what holders previously provided.

UK Downstream Users (DUs)

Downstream users – those in the supply chain who use/purchase substances to make products but do not make or import the substances themselves (and therefore do not hold an EU REACH registration) – that are currently importing chemicals from an EU/EEA country into the UK will need to ensure the substances they purchase and use are covered by a valid UK REACH registration.

These UK downstream users will need to notify the HSE using a ‘Downstream User Import Notification’ (DUIN) of their intention to continue importing substances from the EU/EEA by 27 October 2021. After that, a new UK REACH registration must be submitted to the HSE within 2, 4 or 6 years of 28 October 2021. Alternatively, UK downstream users could encourage their EU/EEA supplier to appoint a UK-based Only Representative (OR) or change their source to a UK registered supplier – that way they would no longer be the registrant.


Authorisation is the part of REACH in which substances of very high concern (SVHCs) that are on the ‘Authorisation List’ (Annex XIV of EU REACH) will be banned from use in the EU unless a time-limited Authorisation for specific uses has been granted (by the European Commission). In UK REACH, SVHCs that have already gone through the full authorisation process (and have a review date) will be recognised by UK REACH. This means that chemicals can continue to be used by UK companies who rely on these authorisations. New authorisation applications, and authorisations waiting for EU/ECHA approval, must be submitted to UK REACH. Authorisations granted under EU REACH for UK-based companies will need to be re-applied for in UK REACH 18 months prior to the end of the review date.


Restriction is the process by which one or more specific uses of substances are prohibited in the EU (listed on Annex XVII of EU REACH).  The UK Government did not mention restriction specifically in its recent update on UK REACH, but it is assumed that restrictions that are currently in place under EU REACH will remain under UK REACH.

‘Comply with UK REACH’

The UK Government announced its online service ‘Comply with UK REACH’ that will go live on 1 January 2021. UK Government says that businesses can use the service to:

  • validate existing UK-held EU registrations (‘Grandfathering’)
  • submit downstream user import notifications (DUIN)
  • submit new substance registrations
  • submit new product and process orientated research and development (PPORD) notifications

Businesses will need to contact the HSE to ensure that they:

  • validate existing UK-held product and process orientated research and development (PPORDs), known as ‘grandfathering’
  • provide information on any authorisation matter, including new authorisation application, grandfathering of existing authorisations, and downstream user notifications of authorised uses.

Peter Fisk Associates and PFA-Brussels provide a full package of support for EU REACH and UKREACH – please get in touch with us if you need support with REACH support in the EU or the UK.