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The withdrawal agreement between the UK and the EU is in the final stages of ratification. Once complete, detailed arrangements for the future relationship can be fully negotiated, which will affect all areas of UK business. The negotiations are critical to the chemical industry, particularly with regard to regulatory processes.

Transitional Arrangements

Following the UK departure on 31 January 2020, there will be a transition period, known as the implementation period, before full separation comes into force. During this time, EU legislation will continue to apply to the UK. This means that UK businesses can continue to trade with the EU, and goods placed on the EU/UK markets before the end of the implementation period can carry on through supply chains, under the rules that were in force at the start of the movement. Under a common rulebook, the UK would commit to ongoing harmonisation with those EU rules “necessary to provide for frictionless trade at the border” during this period. This transition period is currently foreseen to last until 31st December 2020, but potentially could be extended if negotiations on a future trading agreement are still ongoing at the end of this period.

The political declaration, that accompanies the withdrawal agreement, indicates that the UK and the EU would like to explore possibilities for regulatory alignment as part of their future trade agreement to come into effect after the end of the transition period, including co-operation with EU agencies such as ECHA. The current UK Government intended to seek agreement on associate membership of ECHA to ensure that REACH registrations undertaken by UK companies remain valid in the EU and UK markets, post Brexit. Furthermore, the UK would seek agreement for future EU-REACH registrations to be undertaken by UK companies, the proposed options for which are as follows:

  • REACH registrations would be made directly to ECHA, without the need for an Only Representative (OR);

  • REACH registrations undertaken in the UK would be recognised within the EU;

  • Both the above options become possible.

Conversely, EU REACH registrations obtained by EU/EEA entities, would be accepted by UK authorities for the purposes of supply to the UK market.

Current Position

At the current time, the EU position is that only EEA-based companies can REACH register a substance (deal or no deal). As a third country, UK companies will be unable to register substances directly and will lose registrations already completed. UK suppliers to the EU market will have to appoint an OR, or rely on the importer to conduct registration, where required. An alternative option is to move operations to the EU, or transfer registrations to an EU based OR. In the case of substances already registered, this must be completed before the withdrawal date and notified to ECHA.

Conversely, UK importers of substances, mixtures and certain articles from the EEA will lose downstream user status, unless an EEA supplier is willing to engage the services of a UK-based OR. Without this, importers will be burdened with UK-REACH registration duties, according to reciprocal regulation already enacted in the UK to facilitate Brexit. UK-REACH registration will be costly, time consuming and may become the responsibility of organisations inexperienced in REACH regulatory processes. It is estimated that UK companies have already spent around £250 million on REACH registration.

UK REACH (Following A Deal That Does Not Include REACH)

In order to ensure existing levels of protection for workers, consumer and the environment are maintained, the UK government has put in place legislation to replace EU chemicals regulations. This includes legislation to replace REACH, CLP, BPR and PIC.

The UK-REACH legislation provides transitional arrangements for UK Importers, by allowing an interim notification (rather than immediate registration) of chemicals imported from the EEA, or Third Countries covered by a registration made by an EEA based OR. This interim notification will need to be made within 180 days of the date that the UK leaves the EU/end of the transition period, followed by the full registration within 2 years of the date that the UK leaves the EU/end of the transition period.

Existing REACH registrations completed by UK entities will be grandfathered into the new UK REACH system. Registrants will need to take timely action by opening a UK REACH-IT account and providing information on the existing EU registration within 120 days of the UK leaving the EU/end of the transition period. The technical information for the tonnage band registered must be provided within 2 years of the date that the UK leaves the EU/end of the transition period.

Grandfathering will apply to all registrations (including intermediates) held by UK-based entities, including importers and UK-based ORs, and to sole, lead or joint registrants at the time of exit. It also applies to all registrations held by UK companies at any point since 29 March 2017, which is important as registrations transferred to an EU/EEA based entity will be carried over into the UK system.

Grandfathering will not apply to registrations held by organisations established outside of the UK, regardless of whether they are part of a group of companies with a UK presence. In this instance, only registrations that have been transferred to a UK-based entity before the UK leaves the EU will be grandfathered into the system.

A number of scenarios are explored in UK Guidance covering a no Brexit deal:


There is no certainty at this time on how the REACH relationship will work. Switzerland recognises REACH, but Swiss companies selling chemical products to the EU market must register substances through an OR based in the EU. The EEA Countries Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland have full membership of ECHA, but no voting rights.

CHCS will keep members informed and is ready to deliver training, depending on the future negotiations.

See for more information and guidance covering other important exit scenario topics.


 CHCS Training

CHCS offers Modular Training Courses on the writing of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs), and related issues such as classification, labelling and other documentation.

For more information see CHCS Training

If you have any queries about our training, please Contact CHCS.

Chemicals Legislation Support From CHCS

We provide a range of pages on this website to give you an introduction to different aspects of chemicals legislation / regulation:

Legislation (Introduction) Brexit Transport: Modal Regulations
International Legislation GHS Pictograms
European Legislation EU Law Making Process
UK Legislation EH40  

For CHCS members only: 

REACH Regulation Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Seveso III Directive
CLP Regulation The Cosmetics Regulation Tracking Substances
Poison Centre Notification
The Biocidal Products Regulation Chemical Agents At Work
Carcinogens & Mutagens At Work EU Workplace Exposure Limits EH40
Waste EU Circular Economy Package  Transport: Model Regulations
Transport: UK Requirements    

Page updated March 2020


New CHCS Webinar: "An Introduction To In Silico Toxicology – (Q)SAR And Read-Across"
To be presented by Dr. Elena Fioravanzo, of ToxNavigation Ltd. 15 September 2020, 13:30 BST. Register Now (free of charge for members of CHCS).  [Posted on 24 July 2020]

CHCS Statement On Coronavirus / COVID-19
In response to the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, we have prepared a statement on how we are responding to the challenges this raises. You can read the current statement at: Coronavirus / COVID-19. We will update this as and when necessary[Updated on 19 May 2020]

Option To Anonymise The Unique Formula Identifier (UFI)
The Unique Formula Identifier (UFI) generator has been updated to allow companies to chose not to use their company VAT number to create their UFIs.
CHCS members can read more on our News Briefings page[Posted on 22 June 2020]

New ECHA CLP Guidance Documents Published 1) Guidance on labelling and packaging
2) Guidance on harmonised information relating to emergency health response.
CHCS members can read more on our News Briefings page[Posted on 26 May 2020]

Draft Regulation Amending Article 25 Of CLP
The Draft Commission Delegated Regulation amending Article 25 of Regulation (EC) 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures as regards bespoke paints is now available. CHCS members can read more on our News Briefings page. [Posted on 19 May 2020]

Draft Second Amendment to Annex VIII of CLP
The European Commission have published the Draft Commission Delegated Regulation amending Regulation (EC) No 1272/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council on classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures. This is the second amendment to Annex VIII of CLP, otherwise known as poison centres. CHCS members can read more on our News Briefings page. [Posted on 23 April 2020]

Reminder: 13th ATP to CLP applicable from 1st May 2020
The 13th Adaptation to Technical Progress (ATP) to the Regulation on the classification, labelling and packaging of substances and mixtures (CLP) is applicable from 1 May 2020 and contains updated classification and labeling for a number of substances. CHCS members can read more on our News Briefings page. [Posted on 23 April 2020]

Endocrine Disruptors - 1st CHCS Video

We have produced our first video for members: "Endocrine Disruptors", which is available to members free-of-charge.

This introductory video explains the various components of the human endocrine system and how they interact, to help understand the mechanisms of endocrine disruptors on human systems.

The video is just over 10 minutes long.

To register for access to the video, please visit our video registration page: Endocrine Disruptors Video Registration.

[Posted on 1 July 2019]

News Briefings Summary
  • 23 March 2020
    Multilateral Agreements For ADR & RID

  • 17 March 2020
    The Carriage of Dangerous Goods and Use of Transportable Pressure Equipment (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2020

  • 3 March 2020
    UK Chemical Industry: Regulatory Divergence

  • 2 March 2020
    Corrigendum To the 14th ATP Published

  • 10 February 2020
    Third Corrigendum To ADR 2019 Published

  • 13 January 2020
    Poison Centres - Annex VIII amendment published

  • 21 November 2019
    CHCS 2019 AGM & Annual Lectures: Presentations Now Available

  • 21 November 2019
    Commission Directive (EU) 2019/1831 Establishes  A 5th List Of Indicative Occupational Exposure Limit Values (IOELVs)

  • 12 November 2019
    ECHA publishes draft CoRAP for 2020-2022

  • 22 October 2019
    GHS Revision 8

  • 21 October 2019
    Model Regulations, 21st Revised Edition

  • 20 October 2020
    IATA Publishes Significant Changes To The 61st Edition Of The Dangerous Goods Regulations

  • 20 October 2019
    CHCS October 2019 Newsletter Now Published

  • 1 October 2019
    Draft amendment to REACH Annex II

  • 30 September 2019
    Poison Centre First Deadline To Be Postponed

  • 23 September 2019
    Updated advice for UK-based companies intending to export chemicals listed in the Prior Informed Consent (PIC) Regulation to EU countries in the period immediately following the UK’s withdrawal from the EU

  • 28 August 2019
    14th ATP To CLP: Outcomes For TiO2, Cobalt & DPTA

    CHCS Members can read these News items, and older posts, on the CHCS News Briefings page.

    Next 3 CHCS Training Courses:

    For a full list of our CHCS Training Courses, please visit our Training page. 


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