With the deadline of March 29th for leaving the EU rapidly approaching, businesses across all sectors in the UK should have contingency plans in place and would be wise to have preparations well in place now. And those working in the chemicals industry have just been issued new guidance to help them minimise disruptions if the UK leaves with a no-deal Brexit.
If this does happen, any company that manufactures or imports chemicals from within the EU will have to register these on a new regulatory system – UK REACH (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals) – requiring companies to show how these chemicals can be safely used with minimal risk to the environment or human health.
Manufacturers currently registered to EU REACH will have to validate their existing registration with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) within 60 days of the UK leaving the EU. Businesses that import chemical substances from the EU will have to let the HSE know within 180 days of Brexit and those that export chemicals to the EU will also need to have an EU REACH registration in place after the UK has left the EU.
Companies will also have to submit more technical information to the HSE within two years of exiting the EU, part of the government’s commitment to maintaining environmental standards post-Brexit. If we are left with a no-deal scenario, businesses will have to identify the chemicals and quantities they’re using, understand how to register chemicals by adhering to the EU Exit guidance and preparing this information for that registration.
“Delivering a negotiated deal with the EU remains the government’s top priority, but it is the job of a responsible government to ensure we are prepared for all scenarios, including no deal.
“It is not just chemicals producers that could be affected by this change, so I encourage all businesses that use chemicals to read the guidance on the HSE website and check whether they need to take action,” Therese Coffey, Environment Minister, commented.
According to the BBC, Theresa May has met with union leaders to discuss the next steps of her plan for Brexit after her deal was voted down by MPs last week. Some of the leaders have supported delaying the exit date from the EU, while others have suggested another referendum, but it isn’t clear if this is a viable option.
Unison Leader, Dave Prentis, Frances O’Grady of the TUC and General-Secretary of the GMB Tim Roache have all backed extending Article 50 and postponing the exit date of March 29th. They’ve also said that the government should give the power to the people and allow the general public to have the final say, whether that’s through a referendum or a general election.
Some businesses are already preparing to move from the UK, such as Sony which is planning to relocate its European headquarters to the Netherlands to avoid any potential disruptions as a result of Brexit.
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