Defra consultation on extending the UK REACH submission deadlines

July 26, 2022

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has recently launched a consultation on extending the deadlines for submission of transitional UK REACH registrations.

Defra had previously signalled their intention to extend these legal deadlines and the consultation sets out three options:

  1. Extending each deadline by three years, meaning the revised deadlines would become October 2026, October 2028 and October 2030.
  2. Extending the first deadline by three years to October 2026, then the other two deadlines to the successive years (October 2027 and October 2028).
  3. A ‘do nothing’ approach where the deadlines remain the same as they currently are, i.e. October 2023, October 2025 and October 2027.

Defra has indicated its preference is for option 2, because the “transitional registration data would be received sooner, while allowing industry sufficient time to comply”.

The discussion on moving the current deadlines back in time arises from the substantial burden placed on industry by the extra data costs arising from the post-Brexit UK REACH regime. As a result of Brexit, the UK lost access to data on chemicals generated by EU REACH and the UK Government now finds itself needing to ‘recoup’ that loss, to the extent necessary to ensure that the UK REACH regime can operate effectively.

Currently, data requirements under UK REACH mirror those under EU REACH. Defra wants to explore "a new model" that focuses on domestic uses, exposures and risks rather than replicating data packages already submitted under EU REACH. However, the first transitional registration deadline (October 2023) is looming large. As the current transitional registration deadlines are written into the law itself, the Government will need to pass secondary legislation to amend the relevant parts of UK REACH to effect any changes. For now, the existing deadlines remain in force.

While the prospect of extended transitional deadlines may be something of a relief to industry, we want to avoid just kicking the can down the road. The Defra consultation document notes that “Developing a new model is highly technical and complex and time is needed to develop a firm proposal” but does not indicate what solutions might be favoured, or how they would work in practice. Inevitably there will be pros and cons attached to any alternative data requirements.

TSG Consulting is helping organizations respond to the consultation, as well as preparing our own response. We want to be sure that the UK is in the best position to continue to effectively influence the domestic and global agenda for robust and forward-thinking chemical stewardship and sustainably.

Defra’s consultation closes on 1 September 2022. If you want to know more about the issues under consideration, what they mean for your business and what you should do, contact TSG and we’d be delighted to speak with you.

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