Clarity yet to emerge over EU-UK Reach info sharing - market players

Author: Tom Brown

2020/01/28

LONDON (ICIS)--The UK and EU chemicals industries continue to consider their approaches to the UK Reach analogue that could be established in the country post-Brexit, with some players securing free access to the information and others facing obstacles.

UK policymakers have set out plans that EU Reach registration data could be “grandfathered in” to any domestic analogue to the system that may be established following the country’s departure from the EU.

The European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) dictated that EU Reach data be amassed by consortia to avoid replications on animal testing, meaning that each registration dossier has multiple stakeholders, raising questions over the feasibility of using it for a second regulatory system.

The establishment of a UK Reach system is contingent on the country losing ECHA membership in post-Brexit trade talks, but so far trade bodies such as Cefic are understood to have urged members to be pragmatic on information-sharing.

“Some companies have already said if you have if you’ve got a reach registration in place and purchased a letter of access for Reach, we'll give it to you for free for UK Reach... [but] it is really on a case by case basis,” said Mark Earnshaw, managing regulatory consultant for Yordas Group, speaking at an event on UK chemicals policy.

Uncertainty also remains based on what legal entity submitted registration data for EU Reach and which company arm would be registering for a UK system, according to BASF regulatory affairs manager Neil Hollis.

“What we are being told is that if you would like to register for UK Reach you can have access to this data but only if you've registered it already… but we have legal entities in Germany and Belgium that have registered this chemical once before, but in UK Reach it would be BASF Plc that would be registering these chemicals,” he said.

“So what we're finding is that this [idea of] pragmatism… [is] really only relevant if you are a UK legal entity,” he added.

While UK lawmakers are intent on reducing the commercial impact of the country’s breakaway from the EU on companies, little help is expected on securing access to data held in existing Reach registrations, according to Dave Bench, director of EU Exit for Chemicals in the Health and Safety Executive.

“Essentially, the way the legislation is constructed that ownership and access issues are commercial ones, therefore… your obligation as a company is to sort those issues out in order to submit to the UK regulator when you need to,” he said.