The UK plans to copy across most of the EU’s environmental legislation, including the chemical safety regulation REACH. This means that companies doing business in the UK and in the EU will have to comply with two sets of rules.
In the case of REACH, this means that companies doing business in the UK will have to register chemicals under the UK system. “If we spent €5 billion on establishing the EU’s REACH, what is there to suggest it is going to be much less for UK-REACH?” asks Peter Newport from the UK’s chemical business association. As a third country the UK will no longer have access to the EU’s REACH database and needs to set up its own REACH registration system. It is difficult to see how the UK could cut costs without sacrificing environmental and public health standards.
EU chemical industry association CEFIC voiced its fears about supply chain disruptions in the absence of agreements between the EU and UK. Given the REACH data sharing and only representative requirements, UK registrants will need to acquire access and rights to using safety data, which will require lengthy data sharing negotiations involving multiple owners.