The UK Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs have issued a series of technical notices concerning the regulation of chemicals in the event of the UK leaving the European Union with no agreement in place. Although a no-deal outcome in March 2019 is described as “unlikely”, the guidance has been produced as part of the government’s efforts to prepare for all eventualities, so that businesses and citizens can make informed plans and preparations.

The technical notices cover a number of topics: the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation, the REACH Regulation, the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR), the Plant Protection Products (PPP) Regulation, the export/import of hazardous chemicals, control of mercury, and control of persistent organic pollutants.

If there is no deal, the UK will ensure that UK legislation replaces EU legislation via the EU Withdrawal Act. REACH would be replaced by a UK regulatory framework to deliver the functions currently performed by ECHA. The aim would be to preserve the features of REACH and maximise continuity as much as possible, although in a no-deal Brexit the UK would not be part of the European Economic Area and companies would have to take steps to ensure market access.

For biocides and PPP, the UK would establish independent standalone regimes, again using the EU Withdrawal Act to ensure that at the time of Brexit the national regimes would be similar to the existing EU frameworks. All current active substance approvals and product authorisations would remain valid in the UK.

Further details of the plans can be read at the links above, and a framing notice has also been published that explains the UK government’s overarching approach to preparing the country for a no-deal Brexit. Meanwhile, ECHA has updated its web page on the effects of UK withdrawal from the EU.