UK Announces Provisions in the Event of a No-Deal Brexit

UK Announces Provisions in the Event of a No-Deal Brexit

The United Kingdom (UK) is set to leave the European Union (EU) on October 31, 2019, and the possibility of a “no-deal” exit remains a concern for many companies doing business in Europe. The UK Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has issued provisions for a supply chain continuation if no deal is reached between the UK and the EU.

An amended statutory instrument addresses concerns about the status of pending authorization applications that the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and European Commission system are unlikely to process before the UK leaves the EU. The statutory instrument also addresses concerns about Substances of Very High Concern (SVHCs) that carry sunset dates — dates after which authorization is necessary — before the UK exit day. In either case, the use of an in-scope substance in the UK would have previously had to cease from exit day until such time as UK authorization is granted under the UK Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) Regulation system.

The new guidelines that come into effect immediately before the UK exit day help companies maintain uninterrupted production while the UK evaluates authorization requests. All subsequent timelines are established upon the day of exit, rather than a fixed date.

Are you prepared for the coming changes to the REACH regulation? Find out in our guide, REACH in 2020 & Beyond.

Under this new provision, substances pending authorization in the EU REACH system with a sunset date between March 29, 2017, and exit day may remain in use for 18 months following the UK’s last day in the EU, subject to submission of a UK authorization request under the UK REACH system. 

Assuming the UK leaves the EU as planned, the final date of use will be April 30, 2021. 

Companies must apply for UK authorization before exit day. The extra time is intended to allow for the evaluation of authorization submissions or for companies to find substitutions for in-scope substances. The provision will not apply to any substances in which a decision by the ECHA has been made.

This decision comes after the Brexit postponement resulted in more UK authorization submissions made to the ECHA than the UK REACH system.

Grandfathering — importing existing data from the EU REACH system to the UK REACH system —  was also addressed in the statutory instrument, as prior legislation concerning the transition was based upon the initial exit date of March 31, 2019. Now all substances registered by a UK entity at any point on or after March 29, 2017, will be grandfathered into the UK REACH system when the UK leaves the EU.

Brexit remains complicated and substantial changes are possible before October. However, UK companies are certain to maintain their requirements under current product compliance regulations, such as REACH, the EU Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive and the EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR).

To learn how Assent Compliance can help streamline your supply chain data management and reporting processes, contact us at