Brexit coverage

As our readers respond to the UK's decision in June to leave the EU,  Chemical Watch will track the actions and opinions of all stakeholders in the chemicals risk management and regulation field.

We will report on the actions of the UK government and stakeholders including British businesses. We are in close touch with EU regulators, businesses and NGOs and will bring you their latest thinking and actions. We will also use our strong contacts to canvass views and monitor responses globally to help all our readers understand what, if anything, changes for their way of doing business.

UK chemical industry ‘must unite’ under new Brexit plan

18 January 2017- Prime minister Theresa May’s comments that the UK will exit the European single market mean the national chemical community must play its part to inform the government on getting the best deal with the union, says a national chemicals sector trade body. Read more 

UK MPs launch inquiry into REACH and Brexit

5 January 2017The UK parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee’s second inquiry into the future of environmental law and policy, following the EU Referendum, will focus on the scope of REACH in the country. The inquiry... Read more 

UK must maintain its voice in EU policy meetings, warns CIA

5 January 2017The head of the Chemical Industry Association (CIA) has warned that UK officials are making a smaller contribution to EU chemical policy discussions because of their focus on how Brexit can be carried out. And other member states are less inclined to listen to their views, now the UK has voted to leave the trade bloc. Read more 

Brexit: is a UK-REACH Regulation on its way?

December 2016The argument that REACH is one of the most burdensome EU regulations has been a hot topic of discussion in the run up to the EU referendum, where the UK voted to leave the EU. While this has been voiced by many from industry, it can’t be denied that REACH has become essential for the UK chemical industry to access the EU single market. Read more 

‘Predominance of access to market issue ‘noted’, says Brexit minister

24 November 2016 - UK junior Brexit minister, Robin Walker, has told a chemical industry conference that his department recognises the importance chemical manufacturers in Britain attach to being able to trade freely with the EU, after it has left the trade bloc. Read more 

‘Hard’ Brexit could signal end of REACH in UK

16 November 2016 - If, on the day the UK leaves the EU, it loses its access to the European single market, it is highly likely that REACH will cease to apply in the country, says consultancy REACHLaw. Speaking at Chemical Watch’s recent European Enforcement Summit in Brussels, the firm’s head of global compliance, Riku Rinta-Jouppi, said ... Read more 

Preparing for Brexit

1 November 2016 - There is a cloud of uncertainty around Brexit, as well as confusion about how it may impact the chemical industry, both in the UK and EU. Until there is more political clarity – particularly on the relationship the UK will have with the EU in the future – this is likely to continue. Read more 

UK downstream sectors consider post-Brexit stance on REACH

1 November 2016 - A snapshot survey of UK trade bodies representing downstream industrial sectors, shows they have a range of attitudes on whether the UK should continue to implement REACH and other EU chemical legislation post Brexit... Read more 

Brexit could mean more risk-based chemicals regulation, CIA says

26 October 2016 - A post-Brexit UK could mean chemicals legislation that brings a more risk-based approach to policy, the Chemical Industries Association (CIA) says. Read more 

Brexit could hit in vitro uptake warn campaigners

26 July 2016 - The UK's exit from the EU could lead to more animal testing of chemical substances, a campaign group has warned. The UK National Anti-Vivisection Society (Navs) says Brexit could see the country roll back EU legislation designed to reduce animal testing for the purposes of determining toxicity and encourage use of Read more 

UK chemicals forum hears Brexit concerns

28 July 2016 - The effects of the UK’s vote to leave the EU was a key issue at this week’s meeting of the UK environment department’s stakeholder group on chemicals policy. The Chemicals Stakeholder Forum, which includes representatives from government, business and civil society groups, heard that, even though nothing is yet known about the UK government’s negotiating position in its forthcoming Brexit talks with the European Commission Read more 

UK firms should comply with 2018 deadline, says CIA head

14 July 2016 - The argument that UK chemical companies need not register substances under the final 2018 REACH deadline would not be backed by the country's chemical manufacturers trade body. Speaking to Chemical Watch, after last month's  Read more 

UK government urges firms to press on with 2018 registrations

13 July 2016Following the UK’s decision on 23 June to leave the EU, the government is seeking to ensure that there will still be a high level of compliance with the 2018 REACH registration deadline, and that potential disruption  Read more  

Advice to switch to ORs outside the UK is ‘unfounded’

12 July 2016 - Suggestions that companies with an only representative (OR), based in the UK, should consider a “defensive switch” to one based elsewhere in the EU, following the UK’s vote on 23 June to leave the EU, are “unfounded from a regulatory and commercial perspective”, said a trade body representing many ORs. Read more (free trial registration required)

Echa appoints senior official as Brexit ‘contact point’

28 June 2016 - Echa has responded to the Brexit crisis by appointing Andreas Herdina, head of its communications and outreach directorate, as its “contact point” for British companies and for its own British staff. His task will be to ensure that Echa takes a “single consolidated position” towards British companies and staff and that he acts as a reference point on Brexit matters. Read more (free trial registration required)

UK trade bodies prepare for Brexit uncertainties

24 June 2016 - Some of the biggest UK industry associations have called on their government to clarify what the referendum vote to exit the European Union will mean for trade, as they prepare for it to trigger instability in their markets. The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) called the vote “a momentous turning point”. “Many businesses will be concerned and need time to assess the implications. But they are used to dealing with challenge and change and we should be confident they will adapt,” said CBI director general, Carolyn Fairbairn. Read more 

UK chemicals industry ‘pragmatic’ about impact of Brexit vote

24 June 2016 - UK chemical industry associations say the sector will continue to take a "pragmatic" approach and can even "prosper", following the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. Steve Elliott, chief executive of the Chemical Industries Association, said: “It is not the decision that our sector wanted [but] I am confident that an important and resilient industry, such as ours, can prosper in this new situation.” Read more 

Brexit vote raises legal questions

24 June 2016 - The result of yesterday’s UK referendum in favour of leaving the EU raises important questions about how UK-based companies’ obligations under REACH will change, say law firms and consultancies. Unless the UK decides unilaterally, and in breach of its obligation under the EU Treaty, to no longer be subject to existing EU Regulation, said Jean-Philippe Montfort of law firm Mayer Brown, REACH will continue to apply in the UK until it has left the EU. Read more 

UK vote shows need for deregulation, say EU business groups

24 June 2016 - The result of the UK referendum on membership of the EU “made it clear” that the trade bloc must “improve its performance”, starting with a “substantial reduction in bureaucracy for small firms”, says European SMEs trade body Ueapme. Describing the result as “a wake-up call for Europe” and “detrimental for the UK, the other European countries and European SMEs in their efforts towards jobs and growth”, Ueapme president Ulrike Rabmer-Koller said it is “a strong call for a reform of the Europe Union. Read more 

Will Brexit mean avoiding the burden of REACH?

May 2016 - One of the key arguments for leaving the EU has been that Brussels is shackling the member states with excessively burdensome environment, health and safety (EHS) regulations. Among the many regulations, REACH has been identified as the most burdensome for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). So, would leaving the EU mean British SMEs are no longer covered by REACH? Here are some preliminary thoughts about the possible effects Brexit could have on future UK chemicals policy. Read more  (free trial registration required)

Guest column – Nigel Haigh, CHEM Trust trustee

May 2016 - Cleaner water and air, better managed waste, protected habitats, safer beaches – these are some of the benefits that citizens in EU countries have enjoyed over the last forty years. These could not have been achieved as effectively without the combined political and scientific might, and skilled transboundary and cross-cultural negotiations, that are at the heart of the EU policy-making machine.
Read more (free trial registration required)