Commentary: Time for Reach, again

11 January 2013 11:32  [Source: ICB]

ECHA has found companies claiming SME status and benefitting from lower fees

As the next deadline for lower tonnages approaches, the chemical industry needs to gear up

Since the 2010 deadline passed for registering higher tonnages, Reach may have gone off the radar to some extent. But the next deadline is now upon us, and it will affect mainly the same, larger companies that were caught up in the first round.

Dancet says the industry has to prepare now

From 31 May 2013 chemicals manufactured or sold in quantities of more than 100 tonnes/year in Europe must be registered with the European Chemicals ­Agency (ECHA). The previous deadline affected products of 1,000 tonnes/year or more as well as carcinogenic or mutagenic products.

Even closer is the 31 March non-binding deadline for lead registrants - the companies that represent a group of businesses producing or importing the same substance, known as a Substance Information Exchange Forum (SIEF). According to Geert Dancet, ECHA's executive director, lead registrants should be preparing now to submit registration dossiers for the earlier deadline.

"For lead registrants we're putting out a big call to register before the end of March," he said. "ECHA will feed back any comments on the dossier and this information will need to be fed back to the other members of the group. This is particularly important if the group is large."

Once the lead registrant company has successfully registered it will be given login details that will enable the rest of its group to register on the website.

Dancet said it is also important for companies to ensure they meet the European Commission's definition of a small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) before applying for a reduction in fees of 30-90%, depending on the size of the company. There have been a lot of cases where ECHA has found out about companies claiming SME status and benefitting from lower fees.

Far fewer product registrations are expected to take place under the next phase of Reach. Dancet said the figures have not been confirmed but he expects around 10,000 registrations (including 2,000 already received in 2012), compared with 25,000 for the first phase of Reach. Up to 3,000 new substances are expected to be registered, compared with 4,000 last time.

He added: "Our view is that this deadline will apply mainly to big businesses, not such a large number of SMEs. It is the 2018 deadline [1-100 tonnes/year] which will hit SMEs more. The vast majority of registrants this time will already have experience of registration during the 2010 deadline."


By: Will Beacham
+44 20 8652 3214



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