Brexit: What Will Happen to Chemical Regulations?


The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs met in London this month to discuss the impact a no-deal Brexit would have on chemical regulations in the UK.

Embedded above is a video summary of the event, created by the HSE.


Leaving the EU

With British health and safety laws and chemical guidelines being so intertwined with European Regulations, many in the industry have been apprehensive about what will happen to British standards when we leave the EU and what would happen if there was no agreed Brexit deal.

The HSE have put out guidelines and to reassure businesses that the UK will continue to be “strongly committed to the effective and safe management of chemicals”

Outlining their priorities, the HSE state that they will

  • Ensure the continued effective and safe management of chemicals to safeguard human health and the environment
  • Respond to emerging risks and allow trade with the EU that is as frictionless as possible.

Currently the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of Chemicals (REACH) in Britain requires the registering of new chemicals to be done by the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA).

However, regulations will change.


Implementation period

After Brexit, subject to ratification of the drat Withdrawal Agreement, there will be a transition period from 30 March 2019 until 31 December 2020, giving time for independent regulations to be formed.

During this period chemical registrations, approvals, authorisations and classifications that took place before Brexit will continue to be valid and in effect, and current processes in place will continue as before.


What if there is no deal?

If there is no agreed Brexit deal, the HSE ensure that “an effective regulatory framework will be put in place for any outcome.”

One such regulatory framework is the European Union (Withdrawal) Act that converts EU chemical regulations into relevant domestic UK laws. With this, our current chemical regulations will still continue to apply in Britain after Brexit.

Further to this, the government have created a series of technical notices concerning chemical regulations in the UK if there is no Brexit deal.


For more information, please visit: www.hse.gov.uk/brexit/